Commander Loftus William Jones VC (13 November 1879 – 31 May 1916) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Loftus William Jones
|Born||13 November 1879|
|Died||31 May 1916 36) (aged|
|Years of service||1896-1916 †|
|Battles/wars||World War I|
Born 13 November 1879 in Southsea to Admiral Loftus Francis Jones and Gertrude (née Gray), of Petersfield, Hampshire, Jones was educated at Eastman's Royal Naval Academy. He was promoted to a lieutenant on 1 April 1902, and later that year was appointed to HMS Tamar, shore station at Hong Kong, for service on destroyers in reserve at the China Station. He rose to become a commander in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Shark during the First World War.
Jones was 36 years old, on 31 May 1916, at the Battle of Jutland when he performed an act of bravery for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross. Jones went down with his ship.
On the afternoon of the 31st May, 1916, during the action, Commander Jones in H.M.S. "Shark", Torpedo Boat Destroyer, led a division of Destroyers to attack the enemy Battle Cruiser Squadron. In the course of this attack a shell hit the "Shark's" bridge, putting the steering gear out of order, and very shortly afterwards another shell disabled the main engines, leaving the vessel helpless. The Commanding Officer of another Destroyer, seeing the "Shark's" plight, came between her and the enemy and offered assistance, but was warned by Commander Jones not to run the risk of being almost certainly sunk in trying to help him. Commander Jones, though wounded in the leg, went aft to help connect and man the after wheel. Meanwhile the forecastle gun with its crew had been blown away, and the same fate soon afterwards befell the after gun and crew. Commander Jones then went to the midship and the only remaining gun, and personally assisted in keeping it in action. All this time the "Shark" was subjected to very heavy fire from enemy light cruisers and destroyers at short range. The gun's crew of the midship gun was reduced to three, of whom an Able Seaman was soon badly wounded in the leg. A few minutes later Commander Jones was hit by a shell, which took off his leg above the knee, but he continued to give orders to his gun's crew, while a Chief Stoker improvised a tourniquet round his thigh. Noticing that the Ensign was not properly hoisted, he gave orders for another to be hoisted. Soon afterwards, seeing that the ship could not survive much longer, and as a German Destroyer was closing, he gave orders for the surviving members of the crew to put on lifebelts. Almost immediately after this order had been given, the "Shark" was struck by a torpedo and sank. Commander Jones was unfortunately not amongst the few survivors from the "Shark" who were picked up by a neutral vessel in the night.— The London Gazette, 6 March 1917
Commander Jones' body was washed ashore in Western Sweden some days after the battle. He was originally buried at Fiskebäckskil, Västra Götaland, Sweden. His body was transferred to the British War Graves plot in Kviberg Cemetery, Gothenburg in 1961.
Home town memorial
There is a memorial to him outside St Peter's Church, Petersfield.
- Jones, Loftus William, Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- "Biography: Loftus William Jones VC". Royal Naval Museum Library. 2005. Retrieved 4 December 2012.
- "No. 27422". The London Gazette. 4 April 1902. p. 2281.
- "Naval & Military intelligence". The Times (36855). London. 25 August 1902. p. 8.
- "No. 29751". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 September 1916. p. 9067.
- "No. 29972". The London Gazette. 6 March 1917. p. 2254.
- Ashcroft. Michael (5 January 2014). "'No finer act' had the Royal Navy ever known". Inside the First World War OPart 5: A World War. pp. 10–11. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
- Petersfield Post