Jones brothers war collection coming home to Hartlepool

Published Tuesday, 24th October 2017

HARTLEPOOL Council has acquired an important collection of 40 items relating to the three Jones brothers of West Hartlepool, all of whom were killed in action during the First World War.

Bought recently at public auction, the unique collection was purchased using the Museum of Hartlepool’s own Purchase Fund, which is money donated by visitors to the museum and saved for this purpose.

Cllr stephen akers belcher with items from the jones brother s collection web

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher with items from the Jones brothers collection

The three brothers were Theophilus (Theo), Herbert (Bert) and Alfred (Alf) Jones, and while interest has previously centred on Theo due to the significance of his death, research has uncovered that his brother’s stories are equally as interesting and tragic.

Items of note within the collection include:
  • The War Medal 1914 - 1918 awarded to Private Theophilus (Theo) Jones, who was the first soldier to be killed on British soil by enemy action in the First World War.
  • A book of Common Prayer, given to Theo Jones and carried in his breast pocket of his uniform during the Bombardment. The book is pierced by a fragment of German naval shrapnel, and a fragment of Theo’s uniform is still stuck to the front.
  • Five medals awarded to Herbert Jones, including a Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) for bravery (awarded posthumously). Struck by a sniper while saving others from a fire, he died in hospital in France on 15 October 1917.
  • Two medals awarded to the youngest brother Alfred, who volunteered for the army after Theo’s death. Killed on 3 May 1917 during battle of Arras. No known grave (i.e. his body was never found).
  • Theo Jones' prayer book

    Theo Jones' prayer book

    Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher first saw that this significant collection was coming up for auction and alerted the Museum.

    Councillor Akers-Belcher, who is also Hartlepool Council’s Vice Chair of Regeneration Services Committee, said: “As a Council we strongly value our heritage, so knew that when this collection came up for auction, it was of vital importance that we bring these items home to Hartlepool.

    “This important collection was acquired using the Purchase Fund, which goes some way towards helping the museum secure important items of value to Hartlepool.

    “We would encourage all visitors to the museum to donate what they can.”

    Councillor Allan Barclay, the Council’s Member Champion for the Armed Forces, said: “These items are now in the Public Trust, owned by the museum on behalf of the people of Hartlepool.

    “Theo’s medal and prayer book will be temporarily displayed at the Museum of Hartlepool in time for Remembrance Day.

    “Don’t miss the chance to learn more about this fascinating collection of items with strong links to Hartlepool’s wartime history.”

    Plans are underway for all the items to be displayed the Heugh Gun Battery Museum in 2018, as part of the Borough’s official programme for the Commemoration of the Armistice.