Albert JONES
Rank: Private
Number: 31
Unit: A Company, 1st Battalion ROYAL WARWICKSHIRE REGIMENT
Date of Death: 9 May 1915
Age: 32
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Albert was the youngest child of William Jones, a local paraffin dealer and Jane Jones. When the Census was taken in 1901, he was living with his parents, brothers and sister at 29 Avenue Street, Portwood, Stockport. As far as can be established, he'd been born in the neighbourhood and lived all his early life there. Aged 18 at the Census, Albert was working as labourer for one of the local cotton dyers. Sometime after this he joined the army but, when War broke in August 1914, he had returned to Stockport and was a Reservist. He was immediately recalled to the Colours and went overseas joining the Battalion on 19 September. He will have fought throughout the battles of the autumn and was one of what became known as the Old Contemptibles.

On the morning of 8 May, the Battalion received orders to move forward ready to take part in an attack the following day. It was a desperate time for the British Army. The Germans had attacked on 22 April, using poison gas for the first time, and had continued to press forward over the following days. In parts of the battlefield, ground was changing hands on an almost daily basis with counter attack following each attack. The General's orders were that this attack was to be made at all costs and, at 1.15am on the 9th, Albert and the other men of "A" and "B" Companies advanced the front line ready for the assault. Only 25 minutes later, fresh orders came cancelling the attack and ordering the Warwicks back to the original starting point. It was clear the German attack on this day near Frezenberg was having its intended success and counter-attack would have to wait a while longer.

The remainder of the morning of the 9th was quiet in the Warwicks sector. At least as quiet as the Western Front was ever quiet. Nearby, other British units were attacking and capturing Wieltje. Trenches were not yet fully developed in the area and the front line troops were garrisoned partly in shell holes. About 2pm, the German artillery opened a very heavy bombardment on them which lasted until 6pm when there was no practical alternative but to retreat. It is most probable that Albert was killed during these hours. With the men pulling back, it will have been impossible to carry his body with them. It was never found and identified and Albert's name is now inscribed on the Memorial to the Missing at Ieper.

When the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information in the early 1920s, the Jones's family home was at 65 Emperor Street, Portwood but, by then, William and Jane had both died.

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