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25 September 2010

Corporal Ronald Percival Jones of Coromandel Valley

Perc Jones was born in 1889, a son of Edwin Elliot Jones and Annie Jones (nee Wait). His father died in 1892 when Perc was only three years old, and the family moved to the Coromandel Valley area where Annie's father had been the local butcher. Perc was schooled at Coromandel Valley Public School until an altercation with the headmaster meant he and his brother Stanley had to complete their schooling at Cherry Gardens Public School. He left school at 13 and worked as a builder's labourer in the Strathalbyn area. He was a keen horseman, and in 1910 or 1911 he served a year with 4 Squadron of the 17th Australian (South Australian Mounted Rifles) Light Horse militia unit that took in the Blackwood and Clarendon area. Before the war he was an active member of the Blackwood Rifle Club, attended the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church and Rechabite Lodge, and kept wicket for the Coromandel Valley 2nd XI.

In May 1915 the family received news that Perc's brother Fred had died of wounds received during the landing at ANZAC. Perc enlisted on 7 January 1916 and was allocated to the 16th reinforcements to the 9th Light Horse Regiment. A farewell reception was held at the Blackwood, Belair and Coromandel Boy's Club on 14 February 1916, and he and Lena Hall announced their engagement just before he embarked in late April 1916. Lena Hall's brother Albert had enlisted in the Light Horse a week before Perc. By this time it was estimated that 85% of all eligible young men in the district had enlisted.

On arrival in Egypt in June 1916, Perc was allocated to the 3rd Light Horse Training Regiment, and after a short stint in hospital was transferred to the 27th Depot Unit of Supply at Romani. He spent three weeks in hospital in April and May 1917 at Belah then Cairo with influenza, and then was transferred to the Australian Army Service Corps in early May 1917, where he became a member of the Australian and New Zealand Divisional Train. The Divisional Train contained all the logistic and supply requirements to support the Australian and New Zealand Division. Perc was transferred between the companies of the Divisional Train over the next two years, and was promoted to Corporal in June 1918. He spent more stints in hospital with malaria and dysentery, and was dangerously ill in the 24th Stationary Hospital at Kantara for some time in May and June 1919. He embarked on the 'Dunluce Castle' at Suez on 17 July 1919, and was discharged in Adelaide on 7 October 1919.

Perc and Lena were married in the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church two weeks after his discharge. Their first home was in Blackwood where Perc worked for his brother Arch, who ran the butcher shop located at the Blackwood crossroads. Lena and Perc had three daughters, Kathleen Ellen in 1920, Hilda Ruth in 1922 and Thelma Yvonne in 1929. The corner where the butcher shop stood has been known as 'Jones Corner' for nearly a century. Perc later took over the butcher shop in Coromandel Valley until 1938 when he and Lena moved back to Blackwood and he returned to work in Arch's butcher shop.

Perc and Lena were very active in many community organisations including school committees, sports clubs and the Blackwood RSL.

During the Second World War, Perc served as a private in the 3rd Battalion, Volunteer Defence Corps between April 1942 and October 1945. Two years later, Lena passed away.

Perc married Jean Paebell in 1953, and in 1967 he was living at 31 Waite Street, Blackwood when applied for his brother Fred's Gallipoli Medallion. Perc died in December 1972 aged 83 and was buried at Centennial Park. His name is inscribed on the Coromandel Valley War Memorial, the Coromandel Valley and Cherry Gardens Public School Rolls of Honour, and the Coromandel Valley Methodist Church Roll of Honour in the Blackwood RSL.

Photograph: Courtesy of Judy Tscharke

1 comment:

  1. God loves them all, may they rest in perfect peace