SOLDIER NEVER SAW BANNER AFTER BEING KILLED ON WAR’S FINAL DAYS
Moving ‘homecoming’ sign is finally unveiled
A ‘WELCOME Home’ banner made for a young man who never returned from the battlefields of the Great War is being unveiled for the first time – 100 years after it was created.
Harold Jones, a coal miner from Wrexham, was just 21-years-old when he died in France just three days before the end of the First World War.
His parents did not hear of his tragic death until after they had already made him a banner to welcome him home.
His nephew, Martyn Wynne Jones, aged 63, of Ash Bank, now plans to take the banner from North Staffordshire to his uncle’s home town on Sunday to commemorate Harold’s life. It will be displayed at the Rhos War Memorial in Wrexham.
Mr Jones said: “It’s a very simple banner, as you’d expect because times were difficult, but it’s what it represents that’s important to the family. It’s a very tragic story.
“My grandparents heard that the war was ending, and they naturally assumed he would be coming home safe so they made him this banner to welcome him back.
“My grandfather refused to allow them to display it until they were certain he was coming home, which he never did. “Any other banner to welcome men home would have been discarded once they returned, but this one was stored away and sadly never used.” Harold was drafted into service in 1917, and during his first battle he was promoted on the field for bravery. Mr Jones said: “My father, who was a member of the Rhos Male Voice Choir, told me of the time he had been approached by a man who introduced himself as my uncle’s captain during the war, and stated that he had nominated him for the Victoria Cross so he was obviously very brave, but it seems he took one risk too many.”
Harold died during the final battle before the signing of the Armistice.
His services in the Army are commemorated on the Mount Pleasant English Baptist Chapel Roll of Honour along with 34 other men, seven of which sadly lost their lives overseas.
Mr Jones added: “His death Picture: Steve Bould devastated the family. He was so young and he was their second born.
“Imagine hearing that the war is coming to an end and being so relieved that your child was going to come home safely, just to find out he was killed right at the very end.
“It really cut the legs from underneath my grandparents.”
Mr Jones is now in discussion with the rest of the family about whether or not to donate the banner to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers Museum.
He said: “Part of me wants to keep it because it means so much to us, but on the other hand I don’t want it to sit in a drawer forever.
“I think it’s important that it’s seen, especially now on the 100th anniversary.”
WELCOME: Martyn Wynne Jones with the banner made for his uncle’s return from the war.
GRAVE: The final resting place of Corporal Harold Jones.