25th County of London Cyclist Battalion
The London Regiment

 Alfred William JONES

Alfred William Jones (1878-1967)

My father Alfred William Jones was born at 110 Antill Road, Mile End, Middlesex, on 27th January 1878. Following the death of his father on 24 October 1891 he left school to go out to work to support his mother. His mother died on 16th March 1905 and he went to live with his unmarried elder sister, Edith Bessie, in a flat at 3a Belsize Parade, Hampstead, and this was given as his address when he attended for attestation on 11th December 1915 at the age of 37 years 11 months. 
On 5th February 1917 at the Drill Hall, High Street, Fulham, he was appointed to the 2/25th Cyclist Battalion London Regiment. He was under canvas with the regiment at Saxmundham in May and was involved in the removal of bodies from the L48 Zeppelin which was attacked, caught fire and crashed at Holly Tree Farm, Theberton on 17th June. I recall his comment that the one thing he would never forget was the smell not just of the burned bodies, but of the furs in which they had been clothed. 
In November he took the opportunity offered to transfer to the Agricultural Labour Corps. Those who transferred are said to 'have professed knowledge of the subject'. However this seems unlikely in my father's case as, until he joined the services, he had been continuously employed as a 'merchant's clerk' in the City of London. He was billeted in Thetford and worked on farms locally. He told the story that having never driven any vehicle previously he was put to work on a tractor which he promptly drove into a ditch. To the end of his life he never drove again. 
At this time my mother was employed by the Inland Revenue in Ipswich. Volunteers were sought to transfer to the Thetford office and she applied and was accepted. This was how my parents met and on 19th May 1919 they were married in Ipswich. Thus without my father's brief service with the 25th I would not be writing this today. 

30th July 2009




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