|Date of birth:||19th February 1886|
|Place of birth:||Ryde, Isle of Wight|
|Died:||5th June 1916 aged 30 years|
|Death location:||Off the Orkney Islands, Scotland|
Before the War
John Albert Jones was born on 19 February 1886 in Ryde, Isle of Wight. His parents were Harry Jones, born on Portsea Island in the first quarter of 1854, and Mary Ann, née Burden, born Yardbridge, Isle of Wight in the autumn of 1853. His parents married in the autumn of 1880.
On the 1881 census Harry and Mary Ann are shown living in St Helens on the Isle of Wight; Harry is a Mariner.
By 1891 Harry and Mary have five children: Harry (8), Florence A (6), John Albert (4), Louis (1) and Arthur (2 months).
Mary Ann died in 1898. Harry remarried in Southampton in 1899 to Annie Elizabeth Simmons who was born in Southampton in 1877.
The 1901 census shows the family are living at 144 Manor Road, Sholing, Southampton. Harry is still a Mariner; Florence (16), is shown as Mother’s Help; John Albert (14) is an Errand Boy; the other children are Louis (10), Arthur (9), Bessie (8), Dorothy Mary (6) and Ernest (9 months).
Harry senior died in the last quarter of 1901, aged 47.
By the 1911 census Harry junior is living at 25 Sumners Street, Northam, Southampton, with his wife Ellen (27), his sister Florence (26), and two children: Leslie (5) and Dorothy (1). Florence is listed as Single and a Domestic Servant but also on the census is Joe Richards, ‘nephew’, a new baby. Then in the second quarter of 1911 Florence Jones married Joseph James Richards, so it would be fair to assume that baby Joe is their child.
When John Albert Jones died, his death notice said he was the brother of Mrs Daniels of 25 Sumners Street, Northam, Southampton. Kelly’s Directory shows this as the home of William Daniels. Further research shows that Mrs William Daniels is Florence, John’s sister. She married for a second time to William Daniels in the Spring of 1913. Her first husband, Joseph James Richards, was a Fireman on the Titanic and died when the liner sank on 15 April 1912.
John Albert Jones joined the Royal Navy on 24th May 1901. The first ship he sailed on was the St Vincent. His record shows that when he joined he was only 5 feet and half an inch, but by the age of 18 he was 5’ 6” tall. His hair was brown, eyes blue and complexion ‘fair’. His record also shows his character was rated as ‘fair’ to ‘good’ to ‘very good’, with just one blot when he was in the ‘cells’ for seven days in 1905; it does not explain the reason for his week’s incarceration.
John Albert Jones’s last ship was the ill-fated HMS Hampshire.
HMS Hampshire was one of six Devonshire-class armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy in the first decade of the 20th century. She was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet upon completion. After a refit she was assigned to the reserve Third Fleet in 1909 before going to the Mediterranean Fleet in 1911. In 1912 she was transferred to the China Station and remained there until the start of World War I in August 1914.
The ship hunted for German commerce raiders until she was transferred to the Grand Fleet at the end of 1914. Upon her return home the ship was assigned to the 7th Cruiser Squadron. Then, in 1916, she was again transferred, this time to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron and was present at the Battle of Jutland.
Immediately after the battle, she was ordered to carry Lord Kitchener from Scapa Flow on a diplomatic mission to Russia via the port of Arkhangelsk. Due to the gale-force conditions, it was decided that HMS Hampshire would sail through the Pentland Firth, then turn north along the western coast of the Orkney Islands. This course would provide a lee from the strong winds, allowing escorting destroyers to keep pace with her. She departed Scapa Flow at 16:45 and about an hour later made rendezvous with her two escorts, the Acasta-class destroyers Unity and Victor. As the ships turned to the northwest, the gale increased and shifted direction so that the ships were facing it head on. This caused the destroyers to fall behind. As it was considered unlikely that enemy submarines would be active in such conditions, Captain Savill of the Hampshire ordered Unity and Victor to return to Scapa Flow.
Sailing alone in heavy seas, Hampshire was approximately 1.5 mi (2.4 km) off the mainland of Orkney between Brough of Birsay and Marwick Head at 19:40 when an explosion occurred and she heeled to starboard. She had struck one of several mines laid by the German minelaying submarine U-75 on 28th /29th May 1916, just before the Battle of Jutland. The detonation holed the cruiser between bows and bridge and the lifeboats were smashed against the side of the ship by the heavy seas when they were lowered. About 15 minutes after the explosion Hampshire sank by the bows. Of the 655 crewmen and 7 passengers aboard, only 12 crewmen on two Carley floats managed to reach the shore alive; Kitchener and his staff were lost.
Fritz Joubert Duquesne, a Boer and German spy, claimed to have assumed the identity of Russian Count Boris Zakrevsky and joined Kitchener in Scotland. Duquesne supposedly signalled a German U-boat shortly after departing Scapa Flow to alert them that Kitchener’s ship was approaching. He was then rescued by the submarine as Hampshire sank. In the 1930s and ’40s, he ran the Duquesne Spy Ring and was captured by the FBI along with 32 other Nazi agents in the largest espionage conviction in U.S. history.
The wreck is designated as a controlled site under the Protection of Military Remains Act at coordinates 59°7.065′N 3°23.843′W and diving is forbidden without a licence. The ship is upside down at a depth of 55–70 metres (180–230 ft) of water. In 1983 one propeller and part of its drive shaft were illegally salvaged.
Lyness Cemetery, Orkney
The bodies of over 100 officers and men were recovered from the sea and were interred in one common grave where they now lie at rest in Lyness Cemetery, Hoy, Orkney. That is with the exception of Lieutenant MacPherson and Colonel Fitzgerald. Lieutenant MacPherson was on board the Hampshire in his capacity as a Russian translator and was buried in a separate gave in Lyness Cemetery. The body of Colonel Fitzgerald was taken to Inverness and then transferred to London for burial at the Eastbourne (Ocklynge) Cemetery in Sussex. The body of Lord Kitchener was never recovered from the sea: only 12 men survived the sinking of HMS Hampshire.
John Albert Jones is memorialised on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial and on the Southampton Cenotaph.
|Published:||13th March 2016|
|Updated:||Insert dates here|
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