The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (55780) Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones, 2 Special Air Service Squadron, Vietnam.

Place Asia: Vietnam, South Vietnam, Phuoc Tuy Province
Accession Number AWM2016.2.323
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 18 November 2016
Access Open
Conflict Vietnam, 1962-1975
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Charis May, the story for this day was on (55780) Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones, 2 Special Air Service Squadron, Vietnam.

Speech transcript

55780 Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones, 2 Special Air Service Squadron
Accidentally killed 10 April 1971
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 18 November 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones.

Brian Jones was born on 18 April 1948 in Birmingham, England. His family immigrated to Australia when he was a young boy and settled in Whyalla, South Australia. By the early 1960s he had moved to Perth, where he completed his intermediate schooling in 1965, after which he went to work with the Commonwealth Bank.

Jones left the bank in March 1968 and on 5 July enlisted in the Australian Regular Army for a six-year term. Accepted as an officer candidate, he was sent to the Officer Candidate School at Portsea in Victoria. A keen student, he excelled in both the classroom and the field.

Jones was a good sportsman and represented his class in cricket and rugby, for which he was awarded a bronze medallion. He graduated from Portsea in June 1969 with the rank of second lieutenant and returned to Western Australia where, on the 18th, he married his sweetheart, Patricia.

Second Lieutenant Jones was posted to Swanbourne Barracks, Western Australia. He successfully completed the Special Air Service Regiment cadre course and was posted to 2 Squadron. Over the next year he completed the various instructor courses, including for parachuting, demolitions, and rope climbing. In preparation for the jungle conditions of Vietnam, Jones then undertook two training exercises in New Guinea.

The men of 2 Squadron arrived in Vietnam in February 1971. Following some in-country training, they began operations, the majority of which took place in the east of Phuoc Tuy Province. Patrols operated from the South China Sea to the Long Khanh Province border.

On the morning of 10 April 1971 Jones one of ten men who set out to join a patrol led by Sergeant Danny Wright, who was searching for an unoccupied VC bunker system. As Jones led his men out to the helicopter a member of a returning patrol, Trooper Don Barnby, took their photograph. It was the last image taken of Second Lieutenant Jones.

Out in the jungle the two patrols met up and advanced on the location of the VC bunkers. There was no sign of the enemy. The combined patrols moved on, but soon encountered a track showing signs of recent activity. Wright’s patrol was placed as western flank protection and Jones’s men were to protect the eastern flank.

Jones led a three-man reconnaissance patrol forward to locate the bunkers. As they circled round to approach the front of his patrol’s positions, a member of Jones’s patrol mistook him for the enemy, and fired five rounds before his weapon jammed. In the seconds afterwards Sergeant Wright called out “You’ve shot Jonesie!”

Jones received serious wounds to his face. A helicopter soon arrived, but his wounds proved too severe, and he died as he was carried on board. He was days short of his 23rd birthday.
Jones’s remains were returned to Australia and laid to rest with full military honours in the Alice Springs Memorial Cemetery.

Brian Jones’s name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my left, along among more than 500 others who died as a result of their service in Vietnam.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Michael Kelly
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (55780) Second Lieutenant Brian Richard Alan Jones, 2 Special Air Service Squadron, Vietnam. (video)