31st October 1918

Second Lieutenant Thomas Pargetter Jones was killed in action on 31st October 1918 whilst serving in France with the Royal Air Force. He was the third of three brothers to be killed in the war – younger brothers Charles Victor (1892-1916) and Collins Jeffreys (1893-1916) enlisted in the 1st Birmingham Pals together on 1st January 1915 and died within hours of each other on 22nd/23rd July 1916.

Born in Hill House, Netherton, Dudley on 5th October 1885, he was the eldest of ten children born to parents Thomas (a farmer who later became a haulage contractor) and Alice Olivia (née Baker) who had married in Kidderminster in 1884. The family had moved to Northfield by 1901 and to Hampton-in-Arden by 1911, although Thomas Pargeter Jones had left the family home by this date and was boarding in Dundalk, Ireland where he was working as a mechanical engineer.

He married Margaret McKenna in Dundalk in 1911. He apparently worked for Mercedes and Rolls Royce as a motor engineer  before enlisting in the Royal Navy on 17th November 1914 as a Petty Officer Mechanic. He was promoted to the rank of Chief Petty Officer on 1st September 1917 before being discharged to temporary commission with the Royal Air Force on 31st March 1918.

On 31st October 1918, a night bomber (FE2b A6518) crashed as it taxied on a test and burst into flames as one of the bombs loosened and dropped. The pilot, Captain Frederick Woodcock MC was apparently trapped and killed, although his Observer, JB Murray was blown clear. Despite being injured himself, Murray tried to free Captain Woodcock from the cockpit and was later awarded the Albert Medal for his bravery. Second Lieutenant Thomas Pargeter Jones, the unit’s Equipment Officer, ran to the burning wreckage to try to help but, was driven back by the flames. Then, the 112lb bomb on board the aircraft exploded, killing him instantly. He was awarded the MBE in the 1919 New Year’s Honours List.

He is buried in Roisel Communal Cemetery Extension and is commemorated locally on war memorials at Hampton-in-Arden and Bickenhill. He is also commemorated on war memorials at Bewdley and Wribbenhall, Worcestershire – presumably as a result of his mother having moved there by 1918.

If you have any further information, please let us know.

Heritage & Local Studies Librarian

tel.: 0121 704 6977
email: heritage@solihull.gov.uk

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