Saturday, August 25, 2012

Guardsman Matthew Jones 23830


As you might expect, this is a common name, however there were only 4 Mathew or Matthew Jones on the CWGC and of the 22 records for M Jones, only 3 of them turned out to be Matthew when checked against medal cards.

Of these Matthew Jones, only one of them had a mention of Liverpool in their 'other information' the others could be traced to other areas of the country or to Wales.

There was also only one Matthew Jones in UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 with place of birth as Liverpool and it matched the one I had identified.

So, as far as I can ascertain, this Matthew Jones is the right one. As always when I've had to make assumptions to narrow it down, I will be looking for corroboration.


Family Information

Matthew Jones was born on 20th Sept 1891 and christened in St Matthew's, Toxteth on 11th October the same year. His parents were James and Margaret Jones. His father's occupation was tramway guard and they lived at 6 Devonport Street.

At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 1 house, 2 court, Hampton Street. Part of the notoriously bad court housing system. (link to further info) They have 4 rooms for 6 people though so are not in the worst  sourt situations of some families who had a single room. Matthew was the eldest of the 4 children listed on the census.
James was working as an 'electric motor driver' which was probably connected with the trams.

At the time of the 1911 census the family are living at 120 Northumberland St, not far from St James' Church. This area is all modern housing now. There were 8 children at home and the census shows that they are the 8 surviving from 10 children. Matthew's occupation was listed as Clerk (at present out of employment) and his father's as electric car driver for Liverpool Corporation.

An article entitled “Liverpool Policemen Killed in Action” printed in the Liverpool Echo on 26th October 1916 shows a policeman named Matt Jones died with the Grenadier Guards, a quick check shows that our Matthew Jones was the only man of that name to die with the Grenadier Guards.  So, sometime after the 1911 census it appears that Matthew Jones joined the Liverpool Police, the article names a total of 4 police constables from “B” division who had recently been killed and says:
 “Private Matt Jones (ex Police-constable 51B) He joined up early in the war, and was attached to the Grenadier Guards. All four were quite young but most promising policemen and deservedly popular with their officers and comrades. They were all members of the Police Athletic Society… Jones was also a promising boxer, a footballer and good sprinter.”

Military Information

The Medal Index Card for Matthew Jones confirms that he was a private in the Grenadier Guards with the regimental number 23830. He received the Victory Medal and the British War Medal. His name is misspelled as 'Mathew' on the card.

Death and Commemoration

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, 1914-1919

Matthew Jones
Birth Place:
Death Date:
25 Sep 1916
Death Location:
France & Flanders
Enlistment Location:
Grenadier Guards
4th Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

The medal card and CWGC both have his rank as private, but the information above seems to be the correct rank: Guardsman, this rank is also used in the medal rolls.

At the time of Guardsman Jones' death the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards was part of the 3rd Guards Brigade, The Guards Division. The date that he died was the first day of the Battle of Morval, part of the Battle of the Somme.

The following notice was printed in the Liverpool Echo on 25th Sept 1917
JONES - In ever-loving memory of Private M.Jones, Grenadier Guards, killed in action September 25 1916.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who did not change in all the past,
And cannot alter now.
(sadly missed by Mattie)
He gave his life for those he loved.
He did not shirk, but did his duty well;
A British hero, he nobly fought and fell,
And was beloved by all.
Ever remembered by George, Willie and Jim (in France)
We loved him, yes, not tongue can tell,
How deep, how dearly, and how well;
For him we weep in silence unseen,
And sweet is the memory of days that have been.
(Always remembered by all at 24, Great George Street, Liverpool)

A family notice, printed in the Liverpool Echo on 25th Sept 1918:

JONES – In loving memory of our dear brother Private MATTHEW JONES. Grenadier Guards, killed in action, September 25th 1916.For us he always did his bestGod grant him eternal rest.-         From Father, Mother, Sisters and Brothers, 120 Northumberland Street.

Matthew Jones has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

Click here to go to the CWGC database entry for Matthew Jones

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