RIC Auxiliary Cadet William Hooper Jones

 

RIC Auxiliary Cadet Lieutenant William Hooper Jones (aged 24) from Lancashire (Kilmichael ambush)

Date of incident: 28 Nov. 1920

Sources: CE, 30 Nov., 1, 3 Dec. 1920; II, 30 Nov. 1920; CCE, 4 Dec. 1920; Military Inquests, WO 35/152/1 (TNA); Patrick O’Brien’s WS 812, 14-17 (BMH); Timothy Keohane’s WS 1295, 5-7 (BMH); Edward Young’s WS 1402, 13-16 (BMH); Barry (1949, 1989), 36-51; Deasy (1973), 169-76; Hart (1998), 21-38; Abbott (2000), 156-63; Smith, Medal News (Dec. 2000-Jan. 2001), 30-31; Smith, Medal News (Feb. 2002), 18-19; Kautt (2010), 99-118; Leeson (2011), 101, 129; Sheehan (2011), 14, 30, 121, 146; Morrison (2012), 160-72; Townshend (2013), 210-15; Murphy (2014), 65-156; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); http://theauxiliaries.com/companies/c-coy/c-coy.html (accessed 28 April 2016); local information and published articles provided by Jonathan Ali and Robert N. Smith, esp. emails from Jonathan Ali dated 21 and 25 May 2017.   

 

Note: A native of Lancashire, William Hooper Jones was one of the Auxiliaries killed or mortally wounded in perhaps the greatest single disaster suffered by crown forces in Ireland during the war of 1919-21. Thanks to the research of Jonathan Ali and Robert N. Smith, more is known about the family background, wartime military service, and brief postwar experience of William Hooper Jones than about any other member of the crown forces killed in the Kilmichael ambush.

 

Born on 6 December 1895 at Walton in Liverpool, William Hooper Jones was the elder son of Albert Hooper Jones and Mary Jane Jones. His father Albert variously described his occupation as a ‘doctor’s assistant’ and as a ‘stable[s] superintendent’. William Jones served as a ‘grocer’s assistant’ at Ramsbottom in his native county before enlisting at the very beginning of the First World War in the 5th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. After training in Egypt from September 1914 to May 1915, he and his battalion were sent to the Dardanelles and had the misfortune to participate in the failed and fatality-heavy Gallipoli campaign. Jones himself received a gunshot wound to the head (fortunately, not serious) in August 1915 that took him out of action for about two months.

 

Early in 1916, after his recovery, Jones was appointed warrant officer second class and company sergeant major. A period out of combat led to his posting back to England in April 1917 to pursue a temporary commission as an infantry officer, which he did at Bristol from July to December 1917, when he was assigned to the 3rd Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers based at East Bolden. His service was interrupted by hospital treatment for syphilis, which according to a medical report he had contracted at Cairo back in January 1917. He spent seven weeks in an Exeter hospital recovering from this disease, which was attributed to ‘officer’s misconduct’ while he had still been a member of the Lancashire Fusiliers.

 

Though the next step in his military career is somewhat uncertain, he must have ‘served overseas following his appointment to a commission in order to have received the rank of 2nd lieutenant on his BWM [British War Medal] and Victory Medal, this most probably for service in France’. By April 1919, however, he had left the Northumberland Fusiliers and joined the 23rd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment ‘with the rank of acting captain and adjutant’. He was discharged from the army early in October 1919. See Smith, Medal News (Dec. 2000-Jan. 2001), 30-31.

 

In common with so many other British ex-servicemen, William Jones found the transition back to civilian life to be especially difficult owing to the postwar economic downturn that produced widespread unemployment for veterans and non-veterans alike. The outbreak of what became the Irish War of Independence, however, opened up for Jones and many other British unemployed veteran ex-officers the possibility of joining the Auxiliary Division of the RIC (or ADRIC), with pay of £1 per day plus some additional allowances. Jones enlisted in the ADRIC on 17 August 1920, and after a brief training course lasting six weeks at the Curragh Camp in Kildare, he arrived at Macroom just in time to face death at nearby Kilmichael. When examined, his will gave his address as 190 Mount Pleasant, Hawkshaw, Bury, Lancashire. See Smith, Medal News (Dec. 2000-Jan. 2001), 30-31; Smith, Medal News (Feb. 2002), 18-19.

 

At the military inquest held at Macroom Castle on 30 November 1920, the medical evidence relating to Lieutenant Jones showed a ‘wound at point of axila (joint of arm to torso), main arteries cut’. See CE, 1 Dec. 1920. A memorial was erected in William Jones’s memory in the Anglican church at Hawkshaw, where it is recorded that he was killed in the ‘Macroon ambush’ at the age of 24. The inscription on the church memorial ‘appears to be almost identical to the inscription on the family headstone in the churchyard at Holcombe [where he was buried], excepting that the monumental mason has spelt Macroom as Macroon’. See Smith, Medal News (Feb. 2002), 18.

 

 


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