Jones, R H

  • Name on memorial: Jones, R H
  • Memorial panel: Centre
  • Full name: Jones, Richard Henry
  • Rank: Midshipman
  • Service details: H.M.S. Beehive., Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Age at death: 19
  • Date of death: 25/07/1943
  • Birth place: Banbury
  • Parents: Harold Henry and Doris Gertrude Jones, of Banbury
  • Mother's maiden name: Turner
  • Parents' marriage details: Banbury Mar-22
  • Wife: unknown
  • Wife's maiden name: unknown
  • Marriage details: unknown
  • Additional information: Killed during surface action aboard HM MTB 223. HMS Beehive was a Royal Naval Coastal Forces Base headquartered at Felixstowe Dock in the Little Ships Hotel. The base was host to Motor Torpedo Boats, Motor Gun Boats and Motor Launches. These vessels saw action in the North Sea off the Dutch, German and French coasts.

    Richard Henry Jones was born in Banbury in 1924. He and his younger brother attended Bloxham School, where he was known for his fine dramatic talent and contribution to the School Dramatic Society, as well as his “excellent character and the vigour which he put into both work and games, especially rugger. Rugger was one of his passions and he was an outstanding player for sometime” (Old Bloxhamist, 1944).
    He joined the Royal Navy a year before leaving school, as part of the Y Scheme. This allowed boys of 16 or 17 to choose the Navy when they eventually joined up. Many would go on to become officers. Richard gained rapid promotion and was commissioned by 1943, having begun at HMS Collingwood and then moved onto HMS King George Fifth, where he played rugby for the ship’s team.
    Richard was killed on 25th July 1943, during surface action aboard HM MTB 223 of HMS Beehive (a Royal Naval Coastal Forces Base headquartered at Felixstowe Dock). He received a funeral with full Naval honours and was buried in Felixstowe New Cemetery. The Mayor of Banbury and the Vicar of Banbury both attended his Requiem in the School Chapel at Bloxham.
    In 1945, Richard’s parents presented Bloxham School with a silver cup in memory of their son. This engraved cup was awarded each year to the boy judged to have given the best dramatic performance.
    The following letter was sent to Richard’s father from the Admiralty in July 1943:
    My Dear Mr. Jones,—You will have received to-day the Admiralty notification that your son has been killed in action. Words have such little meaning at such a time, but it is with such deep and sincere sympathy I write to tell you about his death. He was, as you know, 1st Lieut, of a very fine M .T. B. His ship was in action against the enemy early this morning and a shell burst against the side of the wheel-house where your son was at his action station, plotting out all the intricate changes of course. He knew nothing about it,, as he was knocked out by the concussion and died shortly afterwards without regaining consciousness. He was such a keen and gallant young officer, and it is thanks to him and the many thousands like him which our land produces, which has saved the world from Nazi domination. I don't know where you would wish his funeral. Here he would lie beside Lieut. Commander R. P. Hichens who was killed in April. Wherever he lies it will be in our memories that he will live. The action of this morning was a gallant one, gallantly fought, and the Germans suffered loss.
    With such deep sympathy from us all here, believe me,
    Yours very sincerely,
    T. KERR , Cdr. R.N.

    We are very grateful to the Honourable Archivist of Bloxham School for this information.

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