Next of kin plaque : Sergeant William Francis Jones, 7th Battalion, AIF

Place Europe: Belgium, Flanders, West-Vlaanderen, Broodseinde, Broodseinde Ridge
Accession Number REL/13576
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Physical description Bronze
Date made c 1921-1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'WILLIAM FRANCIS JONES'.

History / Summary

Born in Newtown, Sydney, New South Wales, William Francis Jones was working as a photographer in Melbourne when he enlisted in the AIF, with his parents' consent, on 15 July 1915, shortly before his twentieth birthday. He had already served in the senior cadets for two years, in the 49th (Prahran) Infantry. After training in Seymour and Bendigo he was posted a private, service number 2726, to the 6th reinforcements for the 21st Battalion. The unit left Melbourne on 5 October, aboard RMS Moldavia.

In Egypt Jones transferred to B Company, 7th Battalion on 24 February 1916, adding an 'A' suffix to his service number. He was promoted corporal in March, and sergeant in October. The battalion left Egypt for France in March and fought its first major battle at Pozieres in July. Jones survived this battle, as well as battles at Bullecourt and Menin Road in 1917. Early in the morning of 4 October 1917 he was hit by a shellburst at Broodseinde Ridge and lived only a few minutes. Jones died before he could learn that he had been awarded a Military Medal for 'his skill and courage' during the battle for Menin Road, between 20 and 22 September 1917. Although he was buried at the time of his death his body could not be located after the war for interment in an official war cemetery and his name is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres.

Reflecting his interest in photography, Jones had taken a camera with him when he left Melbourne. It was one of the effects returned to his parents after his death. His mother, Annie, later recalled that he had been known as 'the musical sergeant' a statement borne out by one of the witnesses to his death, who stated that he was 'very musical'.

This commemorative plaque was sent to Jones' father, William James Jones, in October 1922.