LIEUTENANT LESLIE PHILLIPS JONES
ROYAL BERKSHIRE REGIMENT
6TH JUNE 1915 AGE 20
BURIED: REDOUBT CEMETERY, HELLES, GALLIPOLI, TURKEY
Leslie Phillips Jones' inscription come from his essay 'The Garden of England', which was included with some of his poems in 'Youth. A Song', published after his death. The essay is dated July 1914, was Jones aware of the international situation? He claims that, "England is a cultured garden, her people are the tended flowers, tended mutually by each other". But he warns that love of country, patriotism, is not the same thing as jingoism. And the danger of jingoism is that "the dazzling splendour of colour, flags and bloom flashing bravely in the golden sun masks the grim, hidden, ever-rising realities". Jones concludes that to maintain our country we should remember the old proverb, "'Ill weeds grow fast' so we must keep our garden weeded".
The majority of the poems in the volume were written in 1913 but the one titled 'War' has 'Aug 5th 1914' handwritten in the margin of the digitised copy. The poem is a ringing call to arms following "One lustful despot's passion for might and power":
Then England strips for action,
Dissembles party faction,
Prepares her armies' traction,
For God, for King, for Right!
And soon the din of battle is blasting every land:
Then young men, scholars, sages,
As England nobly rages,
Join ye the war she wages
For God, for King, for Right!
Jones was one of these scholars. In October 1914 he was gazetted into the Royal Berkshire Regiment rather than starting his first term at Oriel College, Oxford. Promoted Lieutenant in February 1915, he sailed for the Dardanelles on 20 May where he was attached to the 2nd Battalion the Hampshire Regiment. He died of wounds within days of his arrival.
The War Graves Commission gives the date of his death as 6 June, 'Youth. A Song' says it was the 7th, which in itself says something about the situation on the peninsular during the Third Battle of Krithia. Launched on 4 June, the Allies made very modest gains and suffered huge casualties. The Hampshire Regiment lost 3 officers and 25 soldiers killed, 11 officers and 43 soldiers wounded, and 1 officer and 31 soldiers missing. Consequently, when the Turks counter-attacked on 6 June the Battalion was under the command of eighteen-year-old Second Lieutenant George Raymond Dallas Moor. The ferocity of the Turkish attack spread fear and panic in the British lines and caused the officerless men to retreat in confusion. Realising how dangerous the situation was, Moor left his trench and dashed across the open ground to halt the rout, stemming the panic and leading the men back to retake their former line. For this action he was awarded the Victoria Cross. BUT, in order to stem the panic among the men he had used his revolver on them. No one exactly knows how many men he shot, nor whether he killed any of them but some have objected to man being awarded a VC for shooting his own men. Of course the award was not for shooting his own men but for averting a dangerous situation and who knows how many men's lives he saved as a result.
Who also knows when and where Lieutenant Jones was wounded but perhaps we can assume that it was before the rout on the 6th or he would have been the senior officer.