LANCE CORPORAL WILLIAM FLETCHER JONES
9TH NOVEMBER 1918 AGE 21
BURIED: CHERCQ CHURCHYARD, BELGIUM
"Signaller's Fatal Wounds
Mr and Mrs J. Fletcher Jones, of 121 Mount Road, New Brighton, received official notification on Tuesday of the death from wounds of their eldest son, Lance-Corpl. William Fletcher Jones, which occurred in Flanders on November 9th. He had just turned 17 years of age when he joined the 4th West Lancashire Royal Field Artillery (Howitzer Brigade) in August 1914. He was drafted to Ypres in 1915 with the 2nd Canadian Division of which they formed part of the Artillery.
Sometime afterwards the 55th Division was formed with which they were embodied, and he was with the famous Division through the battles and hard fighting they experienced. After the battle of the Somme, he became attached to the Royal Engineers, having during the quiet periods made a special study of signalling, coming through the various examinations with the highest honours, and at the time of his death he was away on special duty in charge of the Brigade wireless.
Lance-Corpl. Jones was educated at Vaughan Road School, and for several years was a member of the 4th Wallasey (Emmanuel) Scouts, in which he took a most active and enthusiastic interest. Much sympathy has been extended to the parents in the loss of a gallant young life, just at the close of the fighting after 4 1/2 strenuous years."
William Fletcher Jones was born on 7 May 1897, the eldest child of John and Alice Jones of New Brighton, Cheshire. As his inscription records, Jones enlisted on 8 August 1914, four days after the outbreak of war. He died of wounds two days before the end. Jones was 17 and three months when he enlisted and 18 and four months when he disembarked in France on 29 September 1915. He was therefore underage. Soldiers were meant to be 19 before they could go to the front - unless they had their parents signed permission.
It's not possible to tell exactly when Jones was wounded but he is one of only six First World War soldiers buried in Chercq Churchyard. All six soldiers died on either the 8th or 9th November, casualties of the crossing of the River Escaut/Scheldt during that night when the 166th Brigade reported heavy enemy machine gun fire as they began to cross the river.
John Fletcher Jones signed for his son's inscription. The second part is a quotation from the last verse of the hymn, 'O Jesus I have promised to serve thee to the end':
Oh, let me see Thy footmarks,
And in them plant mine own;
My hope to follow duly
Is in Thy strength alone.
Oh, guide me, call me, draw me,
Uphold me to the end;
And then to rest receive me,
My Saviour and my Friend.
[Some of this information has been acquired from the excellent History of Wallasley website.]