Mov­ing ‘home­com­ing’ sign is fi­nally un­veiled

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Amelia Shaw news­desk@reach­

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.

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