|Birth name||Herbert Jones|
|Born||14 May 1940
|Died||28 May 1982 (aged 42)
Goose Green, Falkland Islands
|Buried at||Blue Beach Military Cemetery at San Carlos|
|Years of service||1960 - 1982 †|
|Commands held||2 PARA|
Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert Jones, VC, OBE (14 May 1940 – 28 May 1982), known as H. Jones, was a British army officer and posthumous recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was awarded the VC after being killed in action during the Battle of Goose Green for his actions as commanding officer of 2 Battalion, Parachute Regiment during the Falklands War.
Jones was born in Putney the eldest of three sons of Herbert Jones (1888–1957), an American artist, and his Welsh wife, Olwen Pritchard (1902–1990), a nurse. He attended St. Peter's Preparatory School in Seaford, Sussex and Eton College. He joined the British Army on leaving school and on graduation from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst on 23 July 1960, was commissioned into the Devonshire and Dorset Regiment as a second lieutenant.1 He was promoted to lieutenant on 23 January 1962,2 captain on 23 July 1966,3 and major on 31 December 1972,4 At this time he was brigade major at HQ 3rd Infantry Brigade in Northern Ireland. As such he was responsible for the efforts to find Captain Robert Nairac who had been abducted by the Provisional IRA. Nairac and Jones had become friends and would sometimes go to the Jones household for supper. After a four day search, the Garda Síochána confirmed that Nairac had been shot and killed in the Republic of Ireland after being smuggled over the border.5 On 13 December 1977 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his services in Northern Ireland that year.6 On 30 June 1979 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel,7 and on 1 December 1979, he was transferred to the Parachute Regiment.8 In the 1981 New Year Honours he was promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE).9
During the Falklands War he was in command of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA). During an attack against entrenched Argentinian positions, with his unit pinned down by heavy fire of MAG and FAL, he led a charge against the nearest position.10He was killed while doing so but the Argentinian unit surrendered shortly afterwards..11For his actions he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.12 His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London, England.
Command of 2 PARA passed to Major Chris Keeble, and Jones was buried at Ajax Bay on 30 May near where he died of wounds. After the war his body was exhumed and buried at the Blue Beach War Cemetery in Port San Carlos on 25 October.
Few historians have disputed his valour. However, ex-TA Para officer and military theorist Spencer Fitz-Gibbon wrote in 1995 that despite his undoubted courage H did more to hinder than to help 2 Para, losing sight of the overall battle picture and failing to allow his sub-unit commanders to exercise Mission Command, before his fatal attempt to lead "A" Company forward from the position where they had become bogged down.13
Jones is buried in the Blue Beach War Cemetery under a headstone which is topped by the Parachute Regiment's insignia and also features an image of the Victoria Cross. The headstone includes the quotation "He is not the beginning but the continuing of the same unto the end." A street in Stanley was named H Jones Road in his memory in addition to Jones Avenue in Mount Pleasant air base. A memorial stone to all those killed at the scene of the battle, near Darwin, also bears his name. His name is also on the South Atlantic Task Force Memorial in St Paul's Cathedral, London, on the wall with the names of the fallen in the Falklands Memorial Chapel at Pangbourne College, and the Parachute Regiment Memorial at their headquarters in Aldershot; he also has a memorial in the cloisters of Eton College and a plaque on a footpath at Kingswear, Devon. The memorial board from St Peter's School, carved with the name of Jones can be seen in Seaford Museum. In addition the 'Colonel H' Public house in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk is named in his honour. There is a wooden plaque memorial in Kingswear parish church and a copy of the citation is on view near the memorial.
Jones's widow, Sara, was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for charity work (she is involved with a number of charities related to the armed forces)141516 and since 2003 has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Wiltshire.17 Both of their sons, Brigadier Rupert Jones MBE and David Jones served as infantry officers in the Devon and Dorsets (now merged into The Rifles).141819 Rupert was appointed MBE in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours and is commander of the 1st Mechanized Brigade.2021
- The London Gazette: . 30 September 1960. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 19 January 1962. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 21 July 1966. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 1 January 1973. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- Wilsey, John (2003). H Jones VC. Arrow Books. pp. 154–158. ISBN 0-09-943669-8.
- The London Gazette: . 12 December 1977. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 23 July 1979. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 17 December 1979. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 30 December 1980. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- According to Dan Snow and Peter Snow, "The Argentine corporal in that trench, Osvaldo Olmos, remembers seeing Jones charge past him alone, leaving his followers in the gully below. Olmos said he was astonished at Jones's reckless bravery: his shots, fired from behind, may have been the ones that brought Jones down." (20th Century Battlefields (Random House, 2012.) p. 282.)
- According to Corporal John Geddes, "Sergeant Norman couldn't do anything under such devastating fire, and lay there in cover unable to help his wounded colonel for over quarter of an hour. But then came a turning point - thanks to an heroic Tom named Corporal Dave "Pig" Abols. Pig had chipped away to the top of the ridge until he could see the machine gun that had killed H. It was still knocking out bursts at anything that moved. Lying there with less cover than a stripper, Pig bided his time and then, in an inspiring act of courage, he jumped to his feet and stood in the lead storm as if he was bullet-proof. Lifting a 66 rocket to his shoulder, he lined it up on the bunker, breathed out and squeezed down the rubber trigger. Whoomph! The blistering white ball of an explosion enveloped the command bunker for the trenches along the ridge, breaking the linchpin in the overlapping arcs of argentine fire and shattering their resolve. The effect was electric. Soon white flags started appearing all along the argentine line. But it was too late for H." Was Colonel 'H' a mad fool? Part 2
- The London Gazette: . 8 October 1982. Retrieved 2007-11-14.
- Fitz-Gibbon, Spencer. Not mentioned in despatches : the history and mythology of the Battle of Goose Green. Cambridge: Lutterworth Press, 1995. ISBN 0-7188-3016-4
- "This page is dedicated to the memory of: Lieutenant Colonel H. JONES, VC OBE". South Atlantic Medal Association. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "Westminster Abbey address by Mrs Sara Jones" (pdf). Army Benevolent Fund. Retrieved 2008-03-11.dead link
- "Falklands fallen remembered 25 years on". RAF news release (Royal Air Force). 14 June 2007.|accessdate=2008-03-11
- The London Gazette: . 14 November 2003. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 5 October 1987. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 3 July 2007. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- The London Gazette: . 16 June 2001. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
- "1st Mechanized Brigade ready for Afghanistan". Ministry of Defence. 14 February 2013.
- The Last Eleven? (Mark Adkin, 1991)
- Monuments to Courage (David Harvey, 1999)
- The Register of the Victoria Cross (This England, 1997)
- Scotland's Forgotten Valour (Graham Ross, 1995)
- H. Jones VC: The Life and Death of an Unusual Hero (John Wilsey, Hutchinson, London, 2002, ISBN 0-09-179355-6)
- 2 Para's Battle for Darwin Hill and Goose Green by David J Kenney ISBN 0-9660717-1-9