Private Leslie Jones, 1st South Midland Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps, died on 15th March 1920 and is buried at Olton Franciscan Cemetery, Solihull. He was born in Birmingham in 1889 and baptised at St Asaph’s Church on 7th July 1889. His parents were Thomas Henry Jones, a carpenter, and Harriet Elizabeth (née Evans), a tailoress who had married at St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Aston in 1886.
Leslie was the elder of the couple’s two surviving children. His sister Mabel (1891-1983) was born on 11th May 1891. The couple apparently had five other children who had all died by the time of the 1911 census.
We haven’t been able to find Leslie on the 1911 census so don’t know what job he did before he joined the Army. His sister, Mabel, had emigrated to the United States in 1907 and, in 1920, married William Gordon Drexelius (1891-1962), a widower with one child, Martin Vaughn Drexelius (1913-1981). Mabel died in Florida in 1983, aged 91.
Leslie Jones married Catherine Kewson in Birmingham sometime between January and March 1914, and they had two sons – Leslie Joseph Jones, whose birth was registered in Aston between April and June 1915, and Thomas Bernard Jones, whose birth was registered in Birmingham between July and September 1916. Tragically, both boys died before their first birthdays.
Leslie joined the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Private on 14th September 1914 and was posted to the 1st South Midland Field Ambulance, a Territorial Army unit based at Great Brook Street, Birmingham on the outbreak of war. The unit went to France in March 1915, but it seems that Leslie was not with them. He was discharged from the Army in November 1915 owing to sickness and was awarded the Silver War Badge in October 1916. The Silver War Badge Roll notes that Private Leslie Jones did not see any overseas service before his discharge.
He died in Aston and was buried at Olton Friary, suggesting that he was a Roman Catholic at the time of his death. It’s not known if there was a previous connection with Olton, and his name does not appear on Olton War Memorial.
His widow, Catherine, married William Bodman in Aston in 1922, and they moved to Tamworth in Staffordshire before moving to Wolverhampton, where they were living at 13 Leason Lane, Low Hill at the time of the 1939 Register. William and Catherine had two children – Joan Margarite Bodman (1923-2000) and Bernard William Bodman (1925-1990).
If you have any further information, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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