Lt-Col 'H' Jones


When Britain decided to send an expeditionary force to retake the Falkland Islands in the south Atlantic, which had been invaded by Argentina in 1982, Jones abandoned a skiing holiday to rush to the Ministry of Defence to persuade the authorities that 2 Para must go. He succeeded; his battalion became part of the 3rd commando brigade, an élite formation under Brigadier Julian Thompson, Royal Marines. On 28 May 1982 Jones led 2 Para in an attack on the Argentinian position at Goose Green. It was the first land battle of the campaign, but one that Thompson had been ordered from London to carry out for political reasons—against his professional advice. After a difficult 3000 metre night advance the battalion was held up in daylight by a strong enemy position on a ridge covering the settlement of Goose Green. Jones was concerned with the delay to A company, which was pinned down in a gorse gully. He went forward under fire to join them. For over an hour he tried to organize artillery and mortar fire support to get the attack moving, becoming increasingly frustrated when his efforts were unavailing. Finally, he stood up, yelled ‘Follow me!’, and dashed to his right up a re-entrant to try to get behind the enemy trenches. Unfortunately few heard his shout apart from his bodyguard, Sergeant Norman, who followed him round. Jones was shot from behind as he made a courageous solo charge on an enemy trench, dying soon afterwards. Within fifteen minutes the position was taken. For his gallantry and leadership Jones was awarded the Victoria Cross. Whether he was, at that moment, doing the job of a commanding officer is arguable, but there was no doubt as to the personal courage, disregard for danger, and forceful leadership that won Jones the Victoria Cross, which is kept in the National Army Museum, London. He is buried at Blue Beach military cemetery, Falkland Islands. An account of his life was written as: H Jones VC: The Life & Death of an Unusual Hero
by John Wilsey.

Below you can read his last letter to his wife.

28th May, 1982

My dearest Sara,

We are now (it's evening) under 400 miles from the Falklands. I've just heard the news that Canberra has joined Hermes and the rest of the task force, but no mention of Norland, as they don't want the Argentinians to know that we've arrived.

I've pretty well finished packing new, my sterling magazines are filled, and it's just a matter of waiting for D Day.

As soon as the landing has been announced, Mike Beaumont, or the senior Naval Officer on board, Chris Esplin-Jones, will ring John Holborn to let me know that we are all OK and ashore. If they can't contact John, they will ring you.

I suspect that Maggie will want us to go ashore on a weekday, so that she can announce it in the House. She won't want to say anything until after first light, which is about 12:30 your time, so I suspect she will announce it fairly early in the afternoon.

From now on we will be sleeping fully dressed except for boots in case there is a submarine attack, and we are all standing to before first light. It's been very calm all day, but the there is an expanding grey light all the time. We expect bad weather fairly soon, which should help to stop Argentine air attacks.

It's strange to think you'll be going off to Colchester soon for the new Colours parade; I feel as if I've been afloat all my life - I'm glad I'm not a professional sailor!...

I had an early bed last night, and we were woken at 0615 by 'Rule Britannia' from the last night of the Proms being played over the loud speakers! We're having 'Land of Hope and Glory' tomorrow!

We still don't know when D Day is, but it looks as if it may be Friday (21st May) since the UN have said Thursday is a key day. We are now on the edge of the Total Exclusion Zone, WNW of the Falklands. Mail closes in 30 minutes, so I had better hurry up and finish. I may write again today or tomorrow, but I doubt if the letter will get away before we go in, so this is probably the last letter I can guarantee will get to you.

By the time you get this I expect the whole thing will be all over; we will certainly be ashore and I expect we will have some sort of settlement. Most important of all, you'll know if I am OK or not.

I don't suppose there's any change of anything happening to me, but just in case I want to tellyou you very much I love you, an thank you for being such a super wife for the last 18 years. I know we have had our ups and downs, but despite all that it's been a wonderful time, and you have made me very happy. I certainly wouldn't want to change any of it. Marrying you was the best thing that ever happened to me, and thanks to you I can look back on a life that has been pretty good so far. I've been very lucky - let's hope my luck holds.

I've written last notes to David and Rupert, and to Dia, which will go off in this mail, too... Must stop or I'll be late. Look after yourself, darling; give Jimmy and Scrumpy my love.

All my love, darling, Always.

H.


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