H. JONES, VC OBE
2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
The eldest of three sons, 'H' - as he was always known to both his family and friends - was born in London on 14 May 1941. He was educated at Eton College between September 1953 and 1958, moving on from there to the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. Passing out from the Academy in 1960, he gained a commission in the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment.
H served within that excellent county regiment in a variety of roles and operational theatres, gaining wide experience and proving, both in the field and in Staff HQ appointments, that he was an officer of the very highest calibre. In 1977 he went to Buckingham Palace to receive the MBE from Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of his outstanding service as Brigade Major of 3 Infantry Bde; he went again in 1980 when made OBE for his work in UK Land Forces. To be awarded an MBE and then be promoted within the Order to Officer is unusually distinguished.
He then did something rather unusual in the career pattern of a British Army officer. Drawn to the robust, positive attitudes of the Airborne world, H transferred to the Parachute Regiment, and was appointed CO of the Second Battalion (2 PARA) in April 1981. Although not initially involved in the South Atlantic deployment, his intensive lobbying ensured that 2 PARA was very much in the OP CORPORATE planners' minds.
In late April 1982 the Battalion embarked in the requisitioned P&O North Sea ferry mv NORLAND, and deployed to the South Atlantic. 2 PARA subsequently landed at Red Beach, San Carlos in the early hours of Friday 21st May 1982. They deployed on and around the Sussex Mountains, before moving south to the Darwin isthmus for the assault on Goose Green, an Argentine-occupied settlement that threatened the flank of the British advance. During the course of that all-important battle (the first test of British resolve in retaking the Islands) H was hit by machine-gun fire as he pressed forward to restore his Unit's battlefield momentum at a critical phase in the fighting.
He was not killed outright. Help was called for, and in a gallant attempt to evacuate the badly-injured CO of 2 PARA, Lieutenant Richard Nunn DFC Royal Marines was shot down in his Sioux helicopter. H was subsequently certified dead at Ajax Bay on 29 May 82, and interred there with the other sixteen dead on the following day, in a wonderful field burial service conducted by the Chaplain of 2 PARA, the Reverend David Cooper.
Later on, his body was exhumed from its temporary resting place above Ajax Bay, and then moved across San Carlos Water to the beautiful Port San Carlos war grave, where he now lies, along with Dick Nunn, and several other men of his Battalion.
H left a widow, Sara, who he married on the 20th June 1964. His two sons, Rupert and David, both followed their father into the Devon and Dorset Regt, although David has since left the Army. Tim, his younger brother, retired from the Royal Navy as a Commander in 1993. Sara leads a busy life as a Justice of the Peace, Chairman of the Falklands Families Association, Executive Councillor for the South Atlantic Medal Association (82) and Chairman of the British Legion Poppy Factory. She was appointed CBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honours List.