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Capt. Frederic Whitworth Jones - D.A.A.G. Railway Transport, S.A.M.I.F. 1 week 2 days ago #94884

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Frederic Whitworth Jones

2nd Lieutenant, 4th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry
Lieutenant, 1st Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry
Captain, South African Mounted Irregular Forces (S.A.M.I.F.)
Deputy Assistant Adjutant General, Railway Transport (Entraining) – Cape Town Base – Anglo Boer War

- Queens South Africa Medal (Cape Colony) to CAPT: F.W. JONES. S.A.M.I.F.
- Kings South Africa Medal (South Africa 1901/1902) to CAPT: W.F. JONES. S.A.M.I.F.

Frederic Whitworth Jones was born on the wrong side of the blanket, in Marylebone, London, on 9 October 1867 the son of Maria Page and Henry Whitworth Jones who lived from 1817 to 1891 and achieved international fame as the leading operatic and concert basso profundo of his day, under the name Henry Whitworth. Whitworth sang in Italy and Brazil, until his retirement as a professional in 1856. He thereafter, continued as an amateur with the Wandering Minstrels, a group which performed for charitable purposes, and he was a member of the fashionable Garrick Club and friend of the novelists Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins.

FWJ at about the age of 5

Frederic was legitimised by the marriage of his parents at All Souls Church, Langham Place, London on 2 February 1885 – a month after Henry Whitworth Jones’ estranged wife, Eliza Susannah Græm, passed away on 1 January 1885. Henry and Eliza had been legally separated since 1858.

Our first glimpse of Frederic comes courtesy of the 1871 England census where, at the age of 3, he was staying with his mother at Sibley’s Lodging House, 9 New Steine, Brighton, Sussex. They were accompanied by Kate Shridelsechman, a German-born servant. His father, meanwhile, was living at home, a Crown Estate property on the edge of Regents Park, 1 Brunswick Place, supported by butler, cook and housemaid.

Ten years later, at the time of the 1881 England census a 13 year old Frederic was a Boarder at Holstein House, a school in the High Street of Weybridge run by Dr. Spyers, a Clerk in Holy Orders where boys were “prepared for Church of England and for Public and Grammar Schools.”

Shortly thereafter, in the Lent intake of 1882, Frederic was a Boarder in B House, Radley College near Abingdon in Berkshire, in Mr Vincent's Social. He was to remain there until 1885, in which year he was a member of the 1st Boat.

Radley College 1st Boat IN 1885

With school out of the way FWJ scouted around for something to do which would befit the first-born son of a man of means. He settled on the army, being commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 4th Battalion King’s Shropshire Light Infantry on the 28th of January 1888 whereafter, he transferred to the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry again as Second Lieutenant on the 21st December, 1889.

Two years later, on 28 March 1891, his father passed away, bequeathing the very handsome sum of £44 000 to his mother, Maria. The England census which was taken a few days later showed the entire family together at 1 Brunswick Place in Marylebone (where their father had died). Frederic was now 23 and described as a Lieutenant in the Army. Siblings Robert (17), Seymour (14) and Katherine (12) were also in residence as were a host of servants. Two private nurses, Ellen Scott and Louisa Russell were still on the payroll (described as employees) most likely having nursed the pater familias in his last days. Louisa was, in fact, a family nurse from the early 1880’s until her death in 1901. On hand to cater to the family’s everyday needs were Priscilla Brading, Maid; Emma Parsons, House Maid and Elizabeth Favell, Cook.

On 16 June 1894 FWJ married a spinster, Elizabeth Collins, born Langley at the Marylebone Registry Office in London. Shortly after the nuptials, it would seem, the couple, together with Alice May, one of Eliza’s three daughters from a previous liaison, migrated to South Africa. Little is known of their early years, save for an obscure reference to a court case in South Africa in 1904 where a motion was entertained by the High Court in Cape Town - “William Brock Keen, the Liquidator of the firm of William Watson & Co. versus Eliza Elizabeth Langley Jones, married to Frederick (sic) Whitworth Jones.”

1894 was also a seminal year for FWJ in an altogether different field of endeavour – he was elected as a Fellow to the forerunner of the South African Entomological Society on the 11th April. His address being provided as 63 Carlton Hill, N.W. and “Sherwood”, Setlagoli, British Bechuanaland, Africa. That he was living in the far reaches of the Cape Colony on the border with British Bechuanaland is almost certain as he provided that address to the Entomological Society. The Whitworth Jones' appear to have settled down to marital life in a foreign land although, from private letters written to her daughter Daisy, who had remained in England, Elizabeth was worried about what was becoming of her children whilst she was so far away.

FWJ, wife and servant in South Africa

On 11 October 1899 the Anglo Boer War broke out between the two Boer Republics of the Orange Free State and the Transvaal and the might of Imperial Britain. FWJ, still a commissioned officer with the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, was seconded for duty as a Railways Officer on 6 February 1900. On 1 June 1900 he was promoted to Captain and, on 21 November 1900, appointed as D.A.A.G. (Deputy Assistant Adjutant General) Entraining (Railway Transport) at Cape Town. In this capacity he would have been responsible for the organisation and smooth operation of trains leaving Cape Town for the interior where the war was being fought. His duties would also have included the entraining and detraining of troops, with all their paraphernalia, the controlling of such passenger traffic as a state of war permits, the custody and passing on of prisoners of war, censoring telegrams, issuing of travelling permits, and the control of a considerable staff of both military and civilians.

Map denoting railway links out of Cape Town for which FWJ would have been, partially, responsible

Although most of the early fighting took place outside and far away from Cape Town, the guerilla phase of the war saw Smuts and other Boer Generals making concerted efforts to infiltrate deep into the Cape Colony in search of supplies, ammunition and, most importantly, fresh recruits from among the sympathetic Cape Dutch subjects they encountered. FWJ and his railway staff would have been kept on their toes with the Boers employing a tactic whereby the railways rolling stock and train lines were constantly ambushed and derailed at various points along the line to the interior.

FWJ and fellow S.A.M.I.F. officers at Cape Town

FWJ was attached to the South African Mounted Irregular Forces (S.A.M.I.F.) and both his Queens Medal, with Cape Colony clasp, and his Kings Medal were issued off this units roll and that of the Cape Town Base Staff.

The war came to an end with the signing of the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902 but for many army personnel there was still work to be done. FWJ wrote home to his step-daughter Daisy in England on 16 July 1902 whilst still in his role as D.A.A.G. Railway Transport. His letter, below, provides some insight into his family at this time: -

“My Dear Daisy

Your mother seems to think that you are very anxious to have a specimen of my letter writing capabilities, and also my photograph which I enclose as a birthday token, though belated. I am sorry if it is not larger, but it is the last of its kind just at present.

May (Alice, Elizabeth’s youngest daughter who had accompanied the couple out to South Africa) went to St Mary’s Convent Wynberg last Monday where I hope she will do well, though she is sure to feel very doleful at first. Your mother is going to Vryburg next week, so I shall be a widower again. I was very disappointed that you did not come out with May and your mother, and have often wondered why you changed your mind. I expect this office will be closed about the end of the year, when I may have a chance of coming home, but it is no good ? till you know.

With every good wish for your birthday.

Your affectionate father

F.W. Jones”

FWJ returned to England, alone, where he wrote to the step-daughter who had remained behind, from 115 Park Road, Hanover Gate, N. W. on 4 January 1905. The letter is significant in that it points to marital strife that he was experiencing: -

“My dear Daisy

Have you heard from your mother or May lately? Please let me know also when, where and how I can see you. A Happy New Year

Your ?

Fred W Jones”

A few months after this letter, on 29 May 1905, his mother passed away bequeathing him the princely sum of £13 000. He was staying with his mother at Brook House, Pulham St. Mary in Norfolk. By now he seems to have divorced Eliza, who, from correspondence to hand, had remained behind in South Africa, This left the field clear for his nuptials, on 12 July 1907, at Windsor in Berkshire, to 38 year old Alice Armytage. His marriage certificate on this occasion, unusually, informs us not only that he was a Divorcee but names his first wife in full, to boot.

Settling down to life with his second wife, by all accounts an obnoxious woman obsessed with her social standing, he started the process of building a new life for himself. An industrious person and a highly capable organiser, FWJ involved himself with sports administration and was, in 1908, the Assistant Secretary to the British Olympic Committee. It was in respect of the 1908 Olympiad which were to be held in London, that the ‘Sporting Life’ conducted an interview with him which was published in their January 9th, 1908 edition. The background to this was that the French were threatening a boycott of the Games. It read, in part, as follows: -

“Yesterday a “Sporting Life” representative called at the British Olympic Association offices, and had a talk to Captain Whitworth Jones, who is doing an immense amount of detail and other work in connection with the forthcoming Olympiad.

Asked to express his views on the unfortunate difficulties which had arisen in France, Capt. Jones said, “Our hopes are that everything will be smoothed over, but I am not in a position to state on what our hopes are based, nor should one word be uttered which might interfere with a rapprochement of the parties concerned.

“You have noticed”, said our representative, “that in many quarters the British Olympic Association has been charged with completely ignoring the representative sports authorities in France, and that this is responsible for the present state of affairs.”

“That is not so,” said Capt. Jones. “We have not been guilty of lack of courtesy either in fact or intention. The idea to which you referred is the outcome of a misapprehension. There is a misunderstanding in France – we all regret it – but is really local, and not one in which we can interfere, and certainly we are not in any way responsible.”

“Then your answer is that you have done the only possible thing, and that you cannot interfere in what is a local quarrel?”

“That is so. We have no business to interfere as between the different bodies in France any more than we should tolerate any dictation from a foreign Olympic Committee ourselves.”

The upshot of all this was that the French did participate in the London Olympics later that year.

From 1909 to WW1 they lived at Fox Corner, Pirbright. It was at this time that FWJ was Secretary to the National Rifle Association at Bisley – himself a crack shot.

At the time of the 1911 England census FWJ and his wife Alice were enjoying their stay at the Hotel St. Petersburg at 20 North Audley Street in London. They were both 42 years old and he was recorded as being a Secretary – a reference to his Olympic Committee work. By 1912 he had progressed to Secretary and was joined on the British Olympic Committee executive by luminaries William Henry Grenfell, Baron Desborough, Chairman and Robert Stuart de Courcy Laffan. He was also awarded a Stockholm Olympics Commemoration medal by the Swedish Olympic Committee for his contribution to their Games.

Portrait of FWJ which has been donated to Radley College

The Great War erupted on the world stage on 4 August 1914 and FWJ, in bed with varicose veins, was frothing at the bit to aid the war effort. He did see a modicum of service, all in England, as a Captain and Railway Transport Officer and as a Cable Censor, making sure that sensitive information didn’t slip through the net. He was hospitalised, aged 48, with bronchitis, on 25 March 1916 and after ten days was discharged on 4 April 1916.

Frederic Whitworth Jones passed away on the 27th of June, 1935, at The Hatch, Seend, Wiltshire at the age of 68. He left no issue. His brief obituary appeared in The Times.

- www.elizabethmillsgenealogy.co.uk/
- Familysearch.org
- Ancestry.co.uk
- British Newspaper Archive

The following user(s) said Thank You: Elmarie, RobCT, EFV, Moranthorse1

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