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20166 Rifleman Norman Keith Jones

 

 

The Jones family were early settlers in Pauatahanui buying, in 1847, a 100 acre farm in Horokiwi Valley which was about half a mile from the village.[i]

Born in 1887 Norman Keith Jones was the second child and eldest son of George and Jane (Jeannie) Jones, farmers of Pauhatanui. Norman went to school in the area and as reported in the 17th July 1917 Evening Post:[ii]

‘The many friends of Pte Norman Keith Jones (No 20166) eldest son of Mr George Jones, of Pahautanui, will regret to learn he was killed in action in France on 7th June. He was born in Pahautanui twenty nine years ago. He received his education there after which he served his apprentiship with Mr D Wilson, blacksmith, Berhampore. Pvt Jones also carried on his trade in Martinborough. About two years ago he relinquished his trade and tool up farming, until his departure to the front. Pte Jones was a general favourite wherever he was known, and was connected with several sports clubs and institutions in Wellington.’

Norman Keith Jones entered camp as Private N K Jones, 1st Company, 16th Reinforcements and following training left for England on 19th August 1916 as a Rifleman in the 10th Reinforcements, F Company, 2nd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade.[iii] On arrival in England Rifleman Jones underwent training at the Sling Camp as part of the 5th Reserve Battalion, NZRB before being sent to France in December 1916. Rifleman Jones mustered into B Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd NZ Rifle Brigade but prior to the Battle of Messines Rifleman Jones was attached, on 22nd February 1917, to the 3rd Light Trench Mortar Battery and it was with this unit that he advanced during the Battle of Messines launched on 6th June 1917.

 
 
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NZ Troops with light trench mortar behind the lines in 1918

The Battle of Messines was well prepared and executed and following the explosion of mines under the German lines and with precision artillery support the New Zealand Division advanced capturing their objectives. Casualties were lighter than expected but the next day German resistance stiffened with heavy artillery falling on New Zealand position. On the 7th June 1917 Rifleman Jones was reported killed in action. His military records simply note:[iv]

‘Killed in action in the Field France or Belgium 7th June 1917, Buried ¾ way up Messines Ridge map location U2 B3.3.’

While the map reference was precise, the area was still being contested and at the end of the war the remains of Rifleman Jones were not positively indentified but are believed to be buried in the Messines Ridge British Cemetery.

 
 

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Messines Ridge British Cemetery

 
 

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Norman Keith Jones is also remembered on his parent’s grave in the Pautahanui Public Cemetery. 

Norman’s younger brother would also, in 1918, serve in the NZEF Sydney George Jones

Notes:

Where the historic spelling of Pauatahanui (Pahautanui) is used in articles it has been reproduced.

Photos:

1918 NZ Troops with Light Trench Mortar (L.M.T.) 1918: National Library (RSA photos)

Commonwealth Grave Commission marker : 20166 Rifleman N K Jones: NZ War Graves Project

Jones family plot; Pauatahanui Public Cemetery: Allan Dodson 2014


References:

Helen Reilly (2103) Pauatahanui – a local history: Pauatahanui Resident’s Association

Col H Stewart (1921) The New Zealand Division 1916-1919: A Popular History Based on Official Records. Auckland: Whitcombe and Tombs Limited

Archway New Zealand – Military Records: 20166 Rifleman Norman Keith Jones



[i] Helen Reilly (2013) Pauatahanui – A local history: Pauatahanui Resident’s Association

[ii] Personal (17 July 1917)  Evening Post

[iii] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records : 20166 Rifleman Norman Keith Jones

[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Records: 20166 Rifleman Norman Keith Jones

 
Last Updated: 26/03/2015 7:11am