Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (5 July 2011)

Date of Auction: 5th July 2011

Sold for £9,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

A rare Great War ace’s M.C. group of four awarded to Squadron Leader H. W. G. Jones, Royal Air Force, late Welsh Regiment and Royal Flying Corps, who was wounded as a subaltern in Gallipoli and on two more occasions as a pilot - once when downed by the famous German ace Oswald Boelcke: but he gained ace status, on one occasion emptying a drum of ammunition into his victim from 50 yards range

Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (Lieut. H. W. G. Jones, Welsh R.); British War and Victory Medals (Capt. H. W. G. Jones, R.F.C.), together with an old embroidered blazer patch, generally good very fine (5) £4000-5000


M.C. London Gazette 26 March 1917:

‘For conspicuous gallantry in action. With a patrol of three scouts he attacked a hostile formation of ten enemy machines. Although wounded he continued the combat and drove down an enemy machine. Later, although again wounded, he remained with his patrol until the enemy retired.’

Hubert Wilson Godfrey Jones, who was born in Llandudno, Wales in October 1890, was gazetted as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 4th (Volunteer) Battalion, Welsh Regiment in April 1913. Mobilised on the outbreak of hostilities, he participated in the landings at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli in August 1915, being among those listed as wounded in the fighting at Scimitar Hill the following day - namely gunshot wounds to his thighs and right hand, a subsequent Medical Board stating that ‘there was a good deal of suppuration at first and the wounds in the left thigh were very sceptic’.

Transferring to the Royal Flying Corps back in the U.K. on recovering from his wounds, Jones qualified as a pilot in April 1916 (Certificate No. 2747) and was posted to No. 32 Squadron, flying D.H.2s, that summer, most probably when the Squadron was still under the command of Major L. W. B. Rees, recently awarded the V.C. for gallantry over the Somme. For his own part, Jones made his first claim - a Fokker E out of control over Rancourt - on 11 August 1916.

Then on 23 September, in another combat over the Somme, he claimed a confirmed L.V.G. destroyed, having emptied a drum of ammunition into the enemy aircraft from 50 yards range, together with another damaged. The relevant combat report takes up the story:

‘On offensive patrol at about 3.40 p.m. pilot saw two hostile aircraft over Warlencourt at about 4,000 feet. He dived and engaged one from the rear and side at about 50 yards range. He fired nearly a drum, tracers hitting their mark when the hostile machines dived very steeply. He changed his drum but could not again see the hostile machines owing to the smoke from a large fire at Faucourt l’Abbaye. Lieutenant Wallace, who witnessed this, saw the hostile machine crash under the smoke pall, just north of Faucourt l’Abbaye, and as there was heavy shelling on the spot, the machine must have been blown to bits. The other hostile machine bolted.

At 4.30 p.m. the pilot saw two hostile machines over Grevillers, at about 3,000 feet. He dived and engaged one, firing from the front and side, and then from the rear. Both times at about 50 yards range. The tracers were seen to hit their mark. Pilot was at 2,000 feet when he finished his drum. The hostile machine was diving and firing over his tail. Pilot lost sight of him when changing his drum. Lieutenant Henty witnessed this, and states that the hostile machine was certainly hit, and looked as if it was going to land east of Bapaume. He could not actually see him on the ground, owing to the bad visibility.’

Of his next combat, The Military Cross to Flying Personnel of Great Britain and the Empire 1914-1919, by Hal Giblin and Norman Franks, states:

‘On 1 October 1916, in D.H. 2 A-2533, he was involved in a fierce aerial combat over the tiny hamlet of Flers, on the Somme front.Shot down, he crashed heavily into a shell hole but, amazingly, was able to scramble, unhurt, away from his doomed machine. His adversary in this combat was the peerless Hauptmann Oswald Boelcke, Jones becoming the 30th of the great German ace’s eventual 40 victories.’

On 16 November 1916, he shared in two enemy aircraft out of control over Loupart Wood, with Lieutenants M. J. J. G. Mare-Montembault and P. B. G. Hunt, while in the New Year, on 5 February, he claimed an Albatross DI out of control over Grevillers, and another of the same type in the same sector on the 15th, when he was slightly wounded.

Transferring to No. 24 Squadron as a Flight Commander on 11 March, he was again wounded in a combat over Roupy on the 21st, his aircraft last being seen to be spinning out of control at 1000 feet after a run-in with Leutnants Olsen and Hilf of Fliegerabteilung 23. The proceedings of a subsequent Medical Board take up the story:

‘While flying over lines he was attacked by a German aeroplane and anti-aircraft guns. His plane was shot down and he sustained two wounds to his perineum, also extensive contusions to his back, chest and legs and left testicle from the fall ... the wounds have healed, pains are much better, but the left testicle is somewhat atrophied.’

Awarded the M.C. and the Italian Al Valore Militare, in silver (London Gazette 26 May 1917 refers), Jones was posted as an Instructor to the Central Flying School on recovering from his wounds, and was given command of No. 19 Squadron in November 1918. Remaining a regular after the War, he again commanded No. 19 Squadron from July 1925 until August 1928, shortly before being placed on the Retired List.

Sold with a file of research and complete run of relevant Operational Record Book entries.