© Helvellyn Consulting 2023
53rd Foot Regiment and 1st Battalion King’s (Shropshire Light Infantry) 1880-
Veteran of the battles of Tel-
el- Kebir, Omdurman and the Nile and Suakim- Berber Expeditions
Born 9th August 1861 Welshpool. Died 1947, Penrith Aged 86
Son of John and Ann Jones
Husband of Mary Ann Cross (1866-
Father of John Seymour, Bertram Ernest, Percy Leonard, Elizabeth Jane, Pearl, Violet Moderina, Harold Frederick and Rosalia.
Greenside Miner and resident of High Rake Glenridding
John Jones was born in Welshpool, Montgomeryshire in Wales in 1862. His father John was an agricultural labourer. John was the second son of his father John and mother Anne. Evan (born 1860) was the eldest, then John, and then five daughters, Sarah Jane (b. 1864), Annie (b.1865). Lucy (b. 1868), Rose (b.1869) and Mary (b.1871).
We don’t know much about John’s childhood but thanks to information from his Great Granddaughter Wendy we know that he joined the army in around 1880. He joined the 53rd Foot Regiment which became the 1st Battalion of the King’s Shropshire Light Infantry in 1882. He served around the world, including 10 years in Egypt and the Sudan and elsewhere including Valetta in Malta, Hong Kong and India.
Whilst in Egypt John was involved in some of the major battles of the Egyptian and Sudan wars, including the battles of Tel-
After an initial spell in England, in 1882 John would have embarked for Egypt with the 1st Battalion as part of the Army involved in the British Conquest of Egypt, also known as the Anglo-
John’s first taste of battle would have come at the Battle of Tell El Kebir (often spelt Tel-
John was also involved in the Nile Expedition, sometimes called the Gordon Relief Expedition (1884–85). This was a British mission to relieve Major-
Somehow John managed to take part in the The Suakin-
We’re not sure where John spent the next 14 years or so but we know his battalion was stationed for a time in India, and also in Valetta in Malta, where the photo above and below was taken, and John can be seen proudly wearing his campaign medals from the Egyptian Campaign, as well as the good conduct stripe seen on his left arm (showing 5 years good service). The two medals he has are the Egypt Medal, which would have had clasps for the Nile, Suakin and Tel-
We can only assume that at some point John had some home leave, when he took the opportunity to marry Mary Ann Cross, daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth Cross, who was born in Chirbury, Shropshire. We believe they were married in Shropshire in 1886 and had four of their 7 children before John finally left the army around 1900. Their first child, John Seymour, was born in 1887, followed by Bertram Earnest in 1889, Elizabeth Jane in 1892, Pearl in 1894, Percy in 1896, Violet in 1900, Harold in 1903 and Rosalia in 1906. It’s possible that John briefly left the army after his marriage as we think we’ve found him, Mary Ann, John and Bertram living in Montgomeryshire in the 1891 Census where John’s occupation is listed as a “Barge Boatmen”.
Given the lack of new children between 1896 and 1900 it’s probable John re-
We believe after a this very eventful military career John left the army in around 1900 and moved back to Welshpool in Wales where by 1901 he was working as a gas furnace stoker at the Welshpool Gas Company. At some point after the birth of Roslia, probably around 1910, John and Mary Ann moved their family to Glenridding where John started working at Greenside as a Lead Ore Roaster. By 1911 the family were living at 5 High Rake, with many of his boys also working at the mine including John Seymour, (as a horse driver below ground), Bertram Earnest (as a miner), and 15 year old Percy as a Lead Ore Cleaner.
We believe that John continued to work at the mine during the First World War and by 1919 he was working as a Fireman at the mine and was still living at 5 High Rake in Glenridding. His wife Mary Ann sadly died in May 1920 at the age of 53 but we believe John continued to live in Glenridding for many years until moving to live with his daughter Violet and her family in Penrith at the start of World War Two. He eventually died after an eventful life in April 1947 at the age of 86. At the time he was living at 5 Newton Road Penrith with his other daughter Elizabeth, but he was buried at St Patricks in Patterdale on the 16th April 1947. As his obituary in the local paper stated “although he was 86 years of age, his upright, soldierly figure was familiar to many people, especially in the Castletown area, where throughout the bitter weather of the recent months he was out daily, rarely wearing an overcoat”. A proud man who had a lived a full life and endured his fair share of hardship and tragedy.
If you can add anything to the story of John or his family please contact us.
John on the right in Valetta Malta at some point in the 1880s
John in later life still maintaining his military bearing.
The battle of Tel-