Captain Ernest Rae Jones was born at Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, the son of Mr. and Mrs. S. Jones. On 10th November1908 he married Geraldine Esme Belinda Prior in Lichfield Cathedral. She was born in the Barton Regis District of Gloucestershire, December quarter 1883, so was about 5 years younger than him. She was the daughter of Major-General John Edward Hale Prior of the Staffordshire Regiment, who died suddenly in January 1900 shortly before taking up command of the 15th Division in South Africa.
Captain Jones was the Officer Commanding "D" Company, 1st Battalion, in position to the right of "A" Company during the Battle at Audregnies on the 24th August 1914. He had sent Captain W S Rich with two Platoons on the right half of "D" Company, on the extreme right of the Battalion, to support 1st Norfolks near the Colliery.
The War Diary states that at about 2.30 p.m. Colonel Ballard gave orders for all troops to retire in an Easterly direction - these orders never reached the two front platoons of 'D' Company.
1st Battalion, The Cheshire Regiment
Captain Ernest Rae JONES
- Killed in Action 24 August 1914
The photograph shows Wiheries Cemetery in the early 1990s, Captain Jones' and Drummer Hogan's graves are the fourth and fifth from the left.
Run your mouse over the photo to see the two graves in close-up. The wreaths were placed there by a detachment of the 22nd Cheshire Regiment on the 24th August of that year - as is done every year on this day which has become the Second Regimental day.
Copyright: G E Conway, 2008
At about 4.00 p.m. Captain Jones noticed platoons of "C" Company to his right retiring and asked what they were doing. Private 9887 Wood replied: "The people on our right rear are retiring." Capt. Jones asked for someone to go and find out and Lieutenant K T Frost said: "Right Sir! I will go."
One source (Col. Arthur Crookenden) states that Captain Jones had withdrawn but returned to the line, probably looking for Captain Rich and his two platoons. It seems he moved off in the direction of the railway line towards the Bois d'Audregnies. It was hereabouts the remnants of the Company ran into the German Magdeburg Division.
Captain Jones fired on them with his revolver and was immediately killed, along with Drummer Hogan. Corporal Crookes and Private Garrard were wounded and Garrard died shortly after, shot through the stomach.
A German Officer ordered the prisoners to carry the bodies across a field to the right side of the road entering Wiheries, where the German soldiers dug a grave.
A burial service was said by Private Randall and the Germans fired three volleys over the grave - hence the grave's inscription:
"For his bravery his was given a military funeral by the Germans".
Captain Jones' wrist watch and revolver were buried with (he was not carrying his sword). A German Pioneer made a small cross and Raynor wrote the names of Captain Jones and Drummer Hogan.
Corporal W Crookes has written a full account of the day's events and was witness to the German's burial of Captain Jones. Also present were 4277 Sgt. A Raynor, "C" Coy.; 9708 L/Cpl M Blake, "D" Coy and 10303 Pte F Garrad, "D" Coy. (Pte Garrad died of his wounds later that day.) Also there was the Company observer, 9887 Pte A Wood, "C" Coy, who made it back to England, rejoined his Regt. and was wounded at Morval 25th September 1916.
This (rather long) account from Corporal W Crookes was probably published in the 1920s in the Regimental newspaper "The Oak Leaf", Corporal Crookes was present at the burial of Captain Jones, initially by the Germans, before he was later re-buried in the official CWGC site.
Corporal Crookes' account is reproduced below and covers the whole day really, which has gone down in the Regimental history as one of its finest hours. Along with the Norfolks they managed to hold off 2 whole Divisions of the German army to allow the rest of the BEF to withdraw to fight another day - but at great loss.
......... Download a full copy of Corporal Crookes' account (.pdf file)
(This document may take some time to download.)
Captain Jones' military service and where he is buried.