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Private E Jones, Territorials

2nd Lt E Jones, Royal Berkshires

Edgar Jones, POW 1918

This page is part of the History Archive of Altrincham United Re3formed Church, which is hosted by The McKnights Scrap-book

 

The WW1 story of 2nd Lt. Edgar Jones b.1895 - 1973
Father of Kathryn McKnight & Christine Smith

 

Edgar was a private in the Territorial Force at the start of the war, he was 19. The Territorials were mobilised when the war started to form the Home Defence Force. Edgar was one of the few (less than 10%) who volunteered to serve overseas. He joined The Royal Berkshire regiment becoming a mounted officer. After receiving tuition in the care of his horse, he was sent to France. The conditions deteriorated and eventually horses were no longer used. On foot with his company at the Battle of Cambrai, they followed tanks into battle, and without any specific training for such a role…

Edgar was wounded in the battle. As he told Jim McKnight "the smoke cleared and the tanks were gone. I was just surrounded by Germans." He was taken prisoner and spent the rest of the war in a POW camp in Heidleberg. Being an officer, conditions were not too bad, they organised themselves with activities such as drama and boxing. Edgar became the boxing champion, and earned a splendid medal!

We believe he may have ben one of those who benefited from a War Office arrangement with the Germans. Normally officers were expected to try and escape and could not be put to work under the Geneva Convention. (Other ranks could be made to work on farms). But if an officer signed an agreement not to escape, they could go outside the POW camp. Certainly, Edgar was in posession of German currency which he brought home.

 

Edgar Jones' medals. Click on image for full resolution.

From left to right: War Service medal, Victory medal, Territorial Overseas medal.

The first two known colloquially as "Mutt and Jeff". Those who served overseas in 1914/15 received also the Silver Star, making a trio known as "Pip, Squeak and Wilfred", also after cartoon characters.

Edgar went to France either in 1916 or 17. and so received the rarer Territorial Overseas Medal.

The service medals were made in millions, but ony 34,000 Territorial medals were issued.

The fourth medal was for boxing in Heidelberg! See below.

Below are thumbnails showing Edgar's period in the POW camp in Heidleberg,
and snapshots of POWs drama.

click on the thumbnails for a full resolution image.

These photos come from Edgar's period in the Heidelberg P.O.W. camp. Some are marked "R Herbet, Hofphotograph, Heidelberg" i.e. "Station photographer"
We are reminded that Edgar was later to play football for Tranmere Rovers
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