John Leonard Jones
Jack Jones was born on 1st January 1895 in Hoylake and baptised on 17th February the same year at Holy Trinity Church. He was the second of nine children born to William (1864-1944) and Hannah Jones (née Housley 1870-1919), who were both from well established Hoylake fishing families. John’s siblings were William Lawrence Housley (1893-1968), Hannah Rosalyn (1897-1978), Margaret Beatrice (1899-1983), Samuel Eric (1901-1979), Norman (1902-1984), Alec (1904-1986), Lilian (1906-?), and Alfred (1909-?).
In 1901 the family were living at 17 Hazel Road, Hoylake. William, a fisherman, and his wife Hannah were with their then five children, William (7), John (6), Hannah (4), Margaret (2), and Samuel who was just 2 months. Hannah’s brother John Housley, a fisherman aged 24, was living with them.
In 1911 the family had moved to 38 Groveland Avenue, Hoylake, where the record states William was now aged 45 and Hannah aged 40. They had been married for 20 years and had produced nine children, all of whom were still living. The seven youngest were all at home with their parents and all at school except for Lilian who was aged four and Alfred aged two. John, along with his elder brother, William, were not at home but were among the crew of fishing trawler “Wave” which was in port in Holyhead, Anglesey.
John enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve in October 1914 shortly after the outbreak of war. He saw part of the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914 and several other minor engagements. He was granted leave during August 1915 where, the Deeside Advertiser reported that it was a pleasure to his numerous friends that Jack was in his native town again. It went on to say that he was enjoying life on one of his Majesty’s mine-sweepers in the North Sea, and that he had a strict regard for that august person, the Censor, though he had “seen a few things” he will not divulge the nature of them.
In 1916 he was second hand under the direction of skipper George Horne on the 274 ton H.M. trawler “Lena Melling”. She was built in Selby in 1915 and requisitioned by the Navy from the builders. Based in Sheerness, Kent in the minesweeping squadron, on 23 April 1916, the Lena Melling struck a mine off Ramsgate which had been laid by German submarine UC-7. John was one of 11 crew lost. Sadly, his body was not recovered for burial.
Jack is commemorated on the headstone of the Jones family grave at Holy Trinity, Hoylake. His epitaph reads:
In loving memory of John Leonard son of William & Hannah Jones who was lost on the mine-sweeper “Lena Melling” 23rd April 1916 aged 21 years In the midst of life we are in death.
Birth: 1st January 1895 in Hoylake
Death: 23rd April 1916, killed or died as a direct result of enemy action aged 21
Address: 17 Hazel Road, Hoylake (01), 38 Groveland Avenue, Hoylake (11-16)* His parents Address
Occupation: Cook on Fishing Trawler, 2nd Hand
Unit: Royal Naval Reserve
Number and Rank: 2nd Hand, H.M. Trawler Lena Melling, 1924DA
Medals: British, Victory, Star
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 18
Sources: CWGC, Bpt., PR, DA, Census: 01,11