Lieutenant William Empson Jones


William Empson Jones was born on 21 March 1888 at Woodside, Hacketstown, County Carlow, one of eleven children of farmer and petty sessions clerk William Empson Jones and his wife, Scottish-born Agnes Eva (nee Allan). By 1911 he was living at Woodside with his parents and four siblings and working on the family farm.

Jones enlisted in the North Irish Horse between 26 October and 1 November 1914 (No.1339), rising to the rank of sergeant. It is likely that he embarked for France in 1916, possibly with E Squadron in January that year.

Later that year Jones was commissioned in the field in the circumstances described below in The Wicklow People, Saturday 13 January 1917:

After spending eighteen months in the trenches Second-Lieutenant William E. Jones, who has just been granted a commission for conspicuous gallantry, is spending a month's furlough at home before taking up the course necessary to qualify him for his new rank. Lieutenant Jones joined the North Irish Horse in October, 1914, as a trooper, and had attained the rank of senior sergeant when with another sergeant and two men he was recently sent to the base in charge of forty German prisoners. Passing by a pile of rifles, the magazines of some of which contained cartridges, the prisoners suddenly made a rush, and most of them succeeded in arming themselves. In a twinkiling both sides were pouring lead into each other, and so effectively did sergeant Jones and his men deal with the situation that when the Huns decided they had had enough, there were sixteen of them knocked out, while Sergeant Jones was the only one of the escort uninjured, the other sergeant being slightly wounded and the two other men killed. The incident was witnessed through his glasses by their Colonel who made a special report of the matter with the result that both sergeants were granted commissions and transferred to another cavalry regiment. Lieutenant Jones is the youngest of the three soldier sons of Mr. and Mrs. W. E. Jones, Woodside House, Hacketstown, who are the recipients of congratulations.

On 17 April 1917 Jones was made a 2nd lieutenant and posted to the North Irish Horse reserve depot at Antrim. Later that year he embarked for France to join the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

Jones was promoted to lieutenant on 17 October 1918. He resigned his commission on 30 March 1920.

After the war Jones emigrated to Canada. He died in Virginia, USA, on 6 September 1953.


One of Lieutenant Jones's brothers, Richard Arthur, served in the Canadian 3rd Battalion (1st Central Ontario Regiment), and was killed at Ypres on 2 May 1915.