Lance Corporal Collins Jeffreys (sometimes Jeffries) Jones was killed in action during attacks on High Wood, on the Somme, on 22nd July 1916 whilst serving with the 14th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment. His older brother, Charles Victor Jones, also a Lance Corporal in the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in the same action on the following day.
Collins was born in the village of Churchill, near Kidderminster, Worcestershire in 1893 and was the fifth of ten children, of whom 9 lived beyond infancy. By 1901, his parents, Thomas (a farmer) and Alice Olivia (née Baker), had moved to Kitwell Farm in Northfield, Worcestershire. By 1911, the family had moved to Hampton-in-Arden.
In July 1909, aged 16, Collins set sail from Liverpool for Canada aboard the Empress of India. The ship’s passenger list (available free of charge from FamilySearch) shows his destination as Oxbow, in the province of Saskatchewan, and his intended occupation in Canada as farming. The area around Oxbow was first settled in 1882 and, by 1916, its population had grown to almost 700. It looks as if Collins returned to England on 17th December 1911 aboard the White Star ocean liner, S.S. Megantic. By the time of the census in April 1911, the Jones family had become somewhat scattered: Collins’ mother and sister, Nancy Penelope (14), were staying with his mother’s brother in Weston-super-Mare, whilst his father Thomas (a haulage contractor) was living in Station Road, Bickenhill, Hampton-in-Arden, with four of the couple’s children: Brindley Royle Skidmore Jones (22); Kenneth (12); Phyllis (9); and Joyce Olivia (5). Collins’ 19-year-old brother Charles was working as a machine tool fitter in Coventry.
Research by Clive Hinsull indicates that Collins joined the Army on 1st January 1915, the same day as his brother, Charles. Their older brother, Brindley Royle Skidmore Jones (1888-1964) also served in the Army, being gazetted Second Lieutenant with South Wales Borderers on 10th March 1915 (having previously been Temporary Second Lieutenant). He transferred to the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in November 1917 and then became Flight Lieutenant on 1st April 1918 when the RFC merged with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) to form the Royal Air Force (RAF). Bryn, as he was known, was demobbed in 1919 and later went on to become a director of Heston Aircraft Company, which initially built aircraft but then transitioned during the Second World War into a company that made aircraft components, including modifying Supermarine Spitfires for reconnaissance work.
Collins Jeffreys Jones is buried at Delville Wood Cemetery, Longueval, France and is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Bickenhill and Hampton-in-Arden.
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