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Jones, Frederick William, Niagara Falls, Ontario. Occupation: Silver Buffer or Polisher. Military Service: Private, Reg. No. 141708, 76th Battalion, transferred to 21st Bn. Attestation Papers. Diary Reference: “After travelling over a mile of open country we came to the trench and after some little difficulty found our man but there was another wounded man there too. So I volunteered to stay with him while the stretcher party took the first wounded man out. They are to send help at once,” 16 Sep ’16; “Waited with this man for two hours. His name is [F. W.] Jones and was with the 21st when they made the attack on the 1st [15th]. He and four others were struck by a shell which killed three and wounded another. He’s been lying here ever since … Find a party of stretcher bearers that will get one man so go back with them. They fix up the boy [Jones] with the wounded back and I go ahead to find another party to look after the lad in the shell hole,” 17 Sep ’16.
Additional Biographical Information
The identification of Pte. Jones illustrates what can be discovered about a soldier, even with a minimum of clues. R. Shirritt-Beaumont initiated the search in June 2009, when he sent an inquiry about this young man via email to Al Lloyd, historian, for the 21st Battalion. After many hours of research and numerous false leads, Al finally identified Pte. Jones on 21 May 2010. This soldier’s biography can now be found at the 21st Battalion website.
29 December 1916: A Medical Case Sheet provided the clue that identified Jones. It reads as follows:
Present condition – Patient went to France in June 1916, was in trenches 3 months. Went to the Somme front at end of Aug 1916. On Sept 15th 1916 was blown by shell explosive but after a few hours not recovered sufficiently to go back to his lines and carried in.
The Medical Case Sheet also recorded details of additional wounds that Pte. Jones received after his rescue from the battlefield. There was also evidence of shell shock.
On Sept 30th was wounded (shrapnel) slightly on left side of face no scars visible on face. Has a large schrapnel wound on anterior aspect of right arm not fully healed. On Oct 1st 1916 wound opened up and a large half of an aluminum shell ring removed. Developed at this time an acute attack of follicular tonsillitis with temp of 105 pulse 144. On Oct 2nd wound freely excised to relieve oedema in arm. About Oct 31st 1916 had an operation at Chester Division of tendon to relieve contraction of arm, which was in a flexed position. At present can flex arm to about an angle of 120°, extension about 130°. Wound not quite healed –
Patient complains of headache (frontal) and giddy feeling, which comes on at night. Does not sleep well – appetite good. Bowels regular.
On 14 Nov while patient was up, took a giddy spell, fell on bed and states he was unconscious for 24 hrs head retracted [?] and had lost power of legs, pulse 160. Patient is quite nervous, is easily excited, and is easily fatigued ... (Personnel Records, Medical Case Sheet, 29 Dec 1916.
22 December 1973: Pte. Jones was discharged from the army as medically unfit for service in February 1919 and lived until 1973. Perhaps a member of his family will read this brief biography and provide additional information about him.