11th November 2002

A ceremony took place on Monday, 11th November 2002 in Kingswear, Devon, to unveil a memorial plaque to Lieutenant Colonel Herbert 'H' Jones, VC, OBE, who spent the majority of his early life in the town.

The memorial plaque was unveiled by his widow Sara Jones CBE, and his brother Commander Tim Jones, Royal Navy. The sons of Colonel Jones, Major Rupert Jones MBE, and David Jones, were also in attendance.

Those military dignitaries attending the ceremony included, General Sir John Wilsey GCB, CBE, DL; Commodore Johnstone Burt, Britannia Royal Naval College; Lieutenant Colonel Orpan-Smellie, The Parachute Regiment; Major Pape and Lieutenant Osborne, The Devonshire and Dorset Regiment. Civic representives attending were the Chief Executive South Hams District Council; the Mayor of Dartmouth; and Chairman of Kingswear Parish Council.

For the award of the Victoria Cross.

[ London Gazette, 11th October 1982 ]. Darwin, East Falklands, 28th May 1982, No. 465788 Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones, OBE, The Parachute Regiment.

On 28th May 1982, Lieutenant Colonel Jones was commanding 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment on operations on the Falklands Islands. The Battalion was ordered to attack enemy positions in and around the settlements of Darwin and Goose Green.

During the attack against an enemy who was well dug in with mutually supporting positions sited in depth, the Battalion was held up just South of Darwin by a particurarily well-prepared and resilient enemy position of at least eleven trenches on an important ridge. A number of casualties were received. In order to read the battle fully and to ensure that the momentum of his attack was not lost, Colonel Jones took forward his reconnaisance party to the foot of a re-entrant which a section of his Battalion had just secured. Despite persistent heavy and accurate fire the reconnaisance party gained the top of the re-entrant at approximately the same height as the enemy positions. However, these had been well prepared and continued to pour effective fire onto the Battalion advance, which, by now held up for over an hour and under increasingly heavy artillery fire, was in danger of faltering.

In his effort to gain a good viewpoint Colonel Jones was now at the very front of his Battalion. It was clear to him that desperate measures were needed in order to overcome the enemy position and rekindle the attack, and that unless these measures were taken promptly the Battalion would sustain increasing casualties and the attack perhaps fail. It was time for personal leadership and action. Colonel Jones immediately seized a sub-machine gun, and, calling on those around him and with total disregard for his own safety, charged the nearest enemy position. This action exposed him to fire from a number of trenches. As he charged up a short slope at the enemy position he was seen to fall and roll backward downhill. He immediately picked himself up, and again charged the enemy trench, firing his sub-machine gun and seemingly oblivious to the intense fire directed at him. He was hit by fire from another trench which he outflanked, and fell dying only a few feet from the enemy he had assaulted. A short time later a company of the Battalion attacked the enemy who quickly surrendered. The devistating display of courage by Colonel Jones had completely undermined their will to fight further.

Thereafter, the momentum of the attack was rapidly regained, Darwin and Goose Green were liberated, and the Battalion released the local inhabitants unharmed and forced the surrender of some 1,200 of the enemy.

The achievements of 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment at Darwin and Goose Green set the tone for the subsequent land victory on the Falklands. They achieved such a moral superiority over the enemy in this first battle that, despite the advantages of numbers and selection of battle-ground, they never thereafter doubted either the superior fighting qualities of the British troops, or their own inevitable defeat.

This was an action of the utmost gallantry by a Commanding Officer whose dashing leadership and courage throughout the battle were an inspiration to all about him.

Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones VC, OBE, was initially buried were he fell at Ajax Bay on 30 May 1982, but his body was later reinterred in Blue Beach War Cemetery, Port San Carlos, Falkland Islands on 25 October 1982.

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Lieutenant Colonel Herbert Jones,
2nd Bn, The Parachute Regiment

  • Victoria Cross
  • Officer, Order of the British Empire ( OBE )
  • General Service Medal ( 1962-2007 )
    • 1 clasp:
    • "Northern Ireland"
  • South Atlantic Medal ( 1982 ) + Rosette
  • Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ( 1977 )


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Iain Stewart, 14 November 2002