War Letters of a Public-School Boy
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War Letters of a Public-School Boy

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of War Letters of a Public-School Boy, by Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: War Letters of a Public-School Boy Author: Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones Release Date: July 6, 2009 [EBook #29333] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WAR LETTERS OF A PUBLIC-SCHOOL BOY *** Produced by Geetu Melwani, Sigal Alon, Christine P. Travers and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected. Hyphenation and accentuation have been standardised, all other inconsistencies are as in the original. The author's spelling has been maintained. Lieut. Paul Jones. (From a Photograph by his Brother.) WAR LETTERS OF A PUBLIC-SCHOOL BOY BY PAUL JONES Lieutenant of the Tank Corps Scholar-Elect of Balliol College, Oxford: Head of the Modern Side and Captain of Football, Dulwich College, 1914 WITH A MEMOIR BY HIS FATHER HARRY JONES He was the very embodiment in himself of all that is best in the public-school spirit, the very incarnation of self-sacrifice and devotion. A DULWICH MASTER.

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of War Letters of a Public-School Boy, by
Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net
Title: War Letters of a Public-School Boy
Author: Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones
Release Date: July 6, 2009 [EBook #29333]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK WAR LETTERS OF A PUBLIC-SCHOOL BOY ***
Produced by Geetu Melwani, Sigal Alon, Christine P. Travers
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
http://www.pgdp.net
Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected. Hyphenation
and accentuation have been standardised, all other inconsistencies are as in
the original. The author's spelling has been maintained.Lieut. Paul Jones.
(From a Photograph by his Brother.)
WAR LETTERS
OF A
PUBLIC-SCHOOL BOY
BY
PAUL JONES
Lieutenant of the Tank Corps
Scholar-Elect of Balliol College, Oxford: Head of the Modern Side and Captain of Football, Dulwich College,
1914WITH A MEMOIR BY HIS FATHER
HARRY JONES
He was the very embodiment in himself of all that is best in the public-school spirit,
the very incarnation of self-sacrifice and devotion.
A DULWICH MASTER.
WITH EIGHT PLATES
CASSELL AND COMPANY, LTD
London, New York, Toronto and Melbourne
1918
CONTENTS
PAGE
INTRODUCTORY 1
PART I. MEMOIR
Chapter
1. CHILDHOOD 9
2. AT DULWICH COLLEGE 14
3. FOOTBALL 28
4. CRICKET 37
5. EDITOR OF THE ALLEYNIAN 41
6. PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND THE WAR 47
7. TASTES AND HOBBIES 52
8. MUSIC 59
9. LITERATURE AND ETHICS 72
10. HISTORY AND POLITICS 85
11. IN THE ARMY 98
12. PERSONAL CHARACTERISTICS 110
PART II. WAR LETTERS
AT A HOME PORT 121
WITH THE 9TH CAVALRY BRIGADE 131
WITH A SUPPLY COLUMN 186
IN THE SOMME BATTLEFIELD 202WITH THE 2ND CAVALRY BRIGADE 212
WITH THE TANK CORPS 229
PART III
EPILOGUE 257
INDEX 277
LIST OF PLATES
H. P. M. JONES AS 2ND LIEUT. A.S.C. Frontispiece
To face page
PAUL AS AN INFANT 8
IN HIS 6TH YEAR 12
WINNING THE MILE, MARCH 27, 1915 22
DULWICH COLLEGE FIRST XV, 1914-15 28
DULWICH MODERN SIDE XV, 1914-15 32
PAUL JONES IN HIS 19TH YEAR 110
AS A SUBALTERN IN THE A.S.C. 120
WAR LETTERS
OF A
PUBLIC-SCHOOL BOY
INTRODUCTORY
These laid the world away; poured out the red
Sweet wine of youth; gave up the years to be
Of work and joy ...
And those who would have been,
Their sons, they gave, their immortality.
RUPERT BROOKE.
In deciding to publish some of the letters written by the late Lieutenant H. P. M. Jones
during his twenty-seven months' service with the British Army, accompanying them with a
memoir, I was actuated by a desire, first, to enshrine the memory of a singularly noble and
attractive personality; secondly, to describe a career which, though tragically cut short,
was yet rich in honourable achievement; thirdly, to show the influence of the Great War
on the mind of a public-school boy of high intellectual gifts and sensitive honour, who had
shone with equal lustre as a scholar and as an athlete.My choice of the title of this book was determined by the frequent allusions made by my
son in his war letters to his old school. He spent six and a half years at Dulwich College.
His career there was gloriously happy and very distinguished. On the scholastic side, it
culminated in December, 1914, in the winning of a scholarship in History and Modern
Languages at Balliol College, Oxford; on the athletic side, in his carrying off four silver
cups at the Athletic Sports in March, 1915, and tieing for the "Victor Ludorum" shield.
As a merry, light-hearted boy in his early years at Dulwich, his love for the College was
marked. It waxed with every term he spent within its walls. After he left it, that love
became a passion, sustained, coloured and glorified by happy memories. Everybody and
everything connected with it shared in his glowing affection. Its welfare and reputation
were infinitely precious to him. Like a leitmotif in a musical composition, this love of
Dulwich College recurs again and again in his war letters. Every honour won by a
Dulwich boy on the battlefield, in scholarship or in athletics gave him exquisite pleasure.
The very last letter he wrote is irradiated with love of the old school. When he joined the
Tank Corps, stripping, as it were, for the deadly combat, he sent to the depôt at Boulogne
all his impedimenta. But among the few cherished personal possessions that he took with
him into the zone of death were two photographs—one of the College buildings, the other
of the Playing Fields, this latter depicting the cricket matches on Founder's Day. In death
as in life Dulwich was close to his heart.
Paul Jones was a young man of herculean strength—tall, muscular, deep-chested and
broad-shouldered. But he had one grave physical defect. He was extremely
shortsighted, had worn spectacles habitually from his sixth year and was almost helpless
without them. In fact, his vision was not one-twelfth of normal. Much to his chagrin, his
myopia excluded him from the Infantry which he tried to enter in the spring of 1915, and
he had to put up with a Commission as a subaltern in the Army Service Corps. His first
three months in the Army were spent at a home port, one of the chief depôts of supply for
the British Army in the field. Eagerly embracing the first chance to go abroad, he left
Southampton for Havre in the last week of July, 1915. A few days after his arrival in
France, he was appointed requisitioning officer to the 9th Cavalry Brigade—a post for the
duties of which he was specially qualified by his excellent knowledge of the French
language. After 11 months in this employment, he was appointed to a Supply Column,
and subsequently, during the protracted battles on the Somme, was in command of an
ammunition working party. In October, 1916, he was again appointed requisitioning
officer, this time to the 2nd Cavalry Brigade.
Though his duties were often laborious and exacting, his relative freedom from peril
and hardship while other men were facing death every day in the trenches sorely troubled
his conscience. Feeling that he was not pulling his weight in the war and seeing no
prospect of the Cavalry going into action he resolved, at all hazards, to get into the
fighting line. After two abortive efforts to transfer from the A.S.C., he succeeded on the
third attempt, and was appointed Lieutenant in the Tank Corps, which he joined on 13th
February, 1917. His elation at the change was unbounded, and thenceforth his letters
home sang with joy. He took part as a Tank officer in the battle of Arras in April, and when
the great offensive was planned in Flanders he was shifted to that sector. In the battle of
31st July, when advancing with his tank north-east of Ypres, he was killed by a sniper's
bullet. He seemed to have had a premonition some days before that death might soon
claim him. In a letter to his brother, a Dulwich school boy, dated 27th July, he wrote:
Have you ever reflected on the fact that, despite the horrors of the war, it is at least abig thing? I mean to say that in it one is brought face to face with realities. The follies,
selfishness, luxury and general pettiness of the vile commercial sort of existence led by
nine-tenths of the people of the world in peace time are replaced in war by a savagery
that is at least more honest and outspoken. Look at it this way: in peace time one just
lives one's own little life, engaged in trivialities, worrying about one's own comfort, about
money matters, and all that sort of thing—just living for one's own self. What a sordid
life it is! In war, on the other hand, even if you do get killed, you only anticipate the
inevitable by a few years in any case, and you have the satisfaction of knowing that you
have "pegged out" in the attempt to help your country. You have, in fact, realised an
ideal, which, as far as I can see, you very rarely do in ordinary life. The reason is that
ordinary life runs on a commercial and selfish basis; if you want to "get on," as the
saying is, you can't keep your hands clean.
Personally, I often rejoice that the war has come my way. It has made me realise
what a petty thing life is. I think that the war has given to everyone a chance to "get out
of himself," as I might say. Of course, the other side of the picture is bound to occur to
the imagination. But there! I have never been one to take the more melancholy point of
view when there's a silver lining to the cloud.
The eagerness to subordinate self displayed in this letter was very characteristic of its
author. He was by nature altruistic, and this propensity was intensified by his career at
Dulwich and his experience of athletics, both influences tending to merge the individual
in the whole and to subordinate self to the side. Death he had never feared, and he
dreaded it less than ever after his experience of campaigning. His last letter shows with
what serenity of mind he faced the ultimate realities. He greeted the Unseen with a cheer.
His Commanding Officer, in a letter to us after Paul's death, wrote:
"No officer of mine was more popular. He was efficient, very keen, and a most gallant
gentleman. His crew loved him and would follow him anywhere. He did not know what
fear was."
From the crew of his Tank we received a very sympathetic letter which among other
things said:
"We all loved your son. He was the best officer in our company and never will be
replaced by one like him."
A gunner who served in the same Tank company testified his love and admiration for
our son and said that all the men would do anything for him; even the roughest came
under his spell.
A brother officer who served with Paul in the 2nd Cavalry Brigade, in paying homage to
his character, wrote: "He was a most interesting and lovable companion and friend. He
never seemed to think of himself at all."
Among the many tributes that reached us were several from the masters, old boys, and
present boys at Dulwich College. Several of the writers express the opinion that Paul
Jones would, if he had lived, have done great things. Mr. Gilkes, late headmaster of
Dulwich, in a touching letter, spoke of the nobility of his character and his high gifts; Mr.
Smith, the present headmaster, testified to his intellectual power, energy and keenness;
Mr. Joerg, master of the Modern Sixth, to his sense of justice, loyalty and truth; Mr. Hope,
master of the Classical Sixth, to his high conception of duty, "his sterling qualities andgreat ability." From the young man who was captain of the school when Paul was head of
the Modern Side came this testimony: "He was one of the finest characters of my time at
school; in me he inspired all the highest feelings." One of his contemporaries in the
Modern Sixth wrote: "I owe more than I can express to your son's influence over me. As
long as I live I shall never forget him. His spirit is with me always; for it is to him that I owe
my first real insight into life." A well-known Professor wrote: "I felt sure he was destined to
do great things; but he has done greater things; he has done the greatest thing of all."
Some of these letters are set forth in full in the Epilogue.
Appended is a list of events in this rich and strenuous, albeit brief life:
Born at 6 Cloudesdale Road, Balham, May 18th, 1896.
Entered Dulwich College, September, 1908.
Junior Scholarship, Dulwich College, June, 1909.
Senior Scholarship, Dulwich College, June, 1912.
Matriculated, with honours, London University, 1911.
Appointed Prefect at Dulwich, September, 1912.
Secretary and Treasurer of the College Magazine, 1913-14.
Editor of The Alleynian, 1914-15.
Head of the Modern Side, 1913-15.
Member of 1st XV, 1912-13, 1913-14, 1914-15.
Hon. Secretary 1st XV, 1913-14.
Captain of Football, 1914-15.
Won a Balliol Scholarship, December, 1914.
Tied for "Victor Ludorum" Shield, March, 1915.
Joined the Army, April, 1915.
Killed in Action, July 31st, 1917.
All that was mortal of Paul Jones is buried at a point west of Zonnebeke, north-east of
Ypres.[Back to Contents]
PART I
MEMOIRPaul Jones as an Infant.
CHAPTER I
CHILDHOOD
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar;
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness.
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, Who is our home.
WORDSWORTH: "INTIMATIONS OF IMMORTALITY."Henry Paul Mainwaring Jones, born in London on May 18, 1896, was the first child of
Henry and Emily Margaret Jones. His grandfather, the late Thomas Mainwaring, was in
his day a leading figure in literary and political circles in Carmarthenshire. My own people
have been associated with that county for centuries. For our son's christening a vessel
containing water drawn from the Pool of Bethesda was sent to us by my old friend Sir
John Foster Fraser, who in the spring of that year passed through Palestine on his
journey by bicycle round the world.
At this time I was acting editor of The Weekly Sun, a journal then in high repute. Later,
at Mr. T. P. O'Connor's request, I took charge of his evening newspaper, The Sun. After
the purchase of The Sun by a Conservative proprietary I severed my connection with it,
and in January, 1897, went to reside in Plymouth, having undertaken the managing
editorship of the Western Daily Mercury .
We remained at Plymouth more than seven years. Paul received his early education at
the Hoe Preparatory School in that town. He was a lively and vigorous child overflowing
with health. When he was in his sixth year we discovered that he was shortsighted—a
physical defect inherited from me. The discovery caused us acute distress. I knew from
personal experience what a handicap and an embarrassment it is to be afflicted with
myopia. Regularly thenceforward his eyes had to be examined by oculists. For several
years, in fact until he was 16, the myopia increased in degree, but we were comforted by
successive reports of different oculists that though myopic his eyes were very strong, and
that there was not a trace of disease in them, the defect being solely one of structure
which glasses would correct.
To Paul as a boy the habitual wearing of spectacles was at first very irksome, but in
time he adapted himself to them. Even defects have their compensations. He was
naturally rash and daring, and his short sight undoubtedly acted as a check on an
impetuous temperament. He early gave signs of unusual intelligence. His activity of body
was as remarkable as his quickness of mind. At play and at work, with his toys as with his
books, he displayed the same intensity; he could do nothing by halves. There never was
a merrier boy. His vivacity and energy and the gaiety of his spirit brightened everybody
around him. When he bounded or raced into a room he seemed to bring with him a flood
of sunshine.
From his childhood he gave evidences of an unselfish nature and a desire to avoid
giving trouble. He had his share of childish ailments, but always made light of them and
bore discomfort with a sunny cheerfulness; his invariable reply, if he were ill and one
asked how he fared, was "Much better; I'm all right, thanks." Marked traits in him as a
small boy were truthfulness, generosity and sensitiveness. In a varied experience of the
world I have never met anyone in whom love of truth was more deeply ingrained. On one
occasion in his twelfth year, when he was wrestling with an arithmetical problem—the
only branch of learning that ever gave him trouble was mathematics—and I offered to
help in its solution, he rejected my proffered aid with the indignant remark: "Dad, how
could I hand this prep. in as my own if you had helped me to do it?" His generosity of
spirit was displayed in his eagerness to share his toys and books with other children; his
sensitiveness by his acute self-reproaches if he had been unkind to anyone or had
caused pain to his mother or his nurse.
Plymouth is a fine old city, beautifully situated and steeped in historic memories. Our
home was in Carlisle Avenue, just off the Hoe, and on that spacious front Paul spentmany happy hours as a small boy. His young eyes gazed with fascination on the
warships passing in and out of Plymouth Sound, on the great passenger steamers lying
at anchor inside the Breakwater, or steaming up or down the Channel; on the fishing fleet,
with its brown sails, setting out to reap the harvest of the sea; and when daylight faded in
the short winter days he would watch the Eddystone light—that diamond set in the
forehead of England—flashing its warning and greeting to "those who go down to the sea
in ships and do business in great waters." Always from the Hoe there is something to
captivate the eye—the wonder and beauty of the unresting ocean; on the Cornish side
the wooded slopes and green sward of Mount Edgcumbe; on the Devon side Staddon
Height, rising bold and sheer from the water; looking landward the picturesque mass of
houses, towers, spires, turrets that is Plymouth, and far behind the outline of the Dartmoor
Hills. On the Hoe itself one's historic memories are stirred by the Armada memorial and
the Drake statue; close at hand is the Citadel, the snout of guns showing through its
embrasures; and near by is Sutton Pool, whence the Pilgrim Fathers set forth in the little
Mayflower, carrying the English language and the principles of civil and religious liberty
across the stormy Atlantic.
All these sights and scenes and historical associations had their influence on a bright
and ardent boy in these impressionable years. He soon got to be keenly interested in the
Navy, amassed a surprising amount of information about the types, engine strength and
gun-power of the principal warships, and found delight in making models of cruisers and
torpedo-boats. The Army in those days made no appeal to him, though he was familiar
with military sights and sounds—the ceremonious displays that take place from time to
time in a garrison town, bugles blowing, the crunch of feet on the gravel in the barrack
square, and the tramp, tramp of marching men. It was to the Navy that his heart went out.
The natural set of his mind to the Navy was encouraged by the accident that his first
school prize was Southey's "Life of Nelson"—a book that inspired him with hero-worship
for the illustrious admiral.