Appeal to reunite King George letter and other World War One documents with soldier's family

The letter of condolence from Buckingham Palace, signed by King George

The letter from the War Office signed by Winston Churchill

The cutting from The Bolton Journal telling the story of Sgt John Jones

First published in News This Is Lancashire: Photograph of the Author by

WHEN Dennis Barnes came across these documents in his mother’s belongings he had no idea who the soldier was.

He has been wondering about the brave soldier for almost 20 years and now hopes to reunite the papers with family members.

Dennis, who lives in Bashall Street, Bolton, found a faded newspaper cutting from The Bolton Journal, a letter from King George offering sympathy to the soldier’s family and a letter from the War Office to say he was mentioned in a despatch from General Sir Charles Monro on March 6, 1916.

The soldier was called John Jones and he lived with his wife and child at 29 Cardwell Street in Bolton.

He received the DCM — only one below the Victoria Cross for other ranks — at the withdrawal stage from Gallipoli.

According to military historian Charles Sandbach this would indicate that Sgt Jones “was holding up the fire right to the end on the beaches”.

In an article in The Bolton Journal it is reported that John was at Gallipoli from May 1915 to January 9, 1916.

He then went to Sinai and in March 1917 to France.

The article: ‘The DCM was awarded on January 4, 1916 at Gallipoli. After being wounded he kept up a steady rate of fire with his gun and displayed great coolness and courage.

"Sgt Jones resides with his wife and child at 29 Cardwell Street, Bolton and prior to joining the forces was an employee of Messrs William Ryder Ltd, Beehive Works, Folds Road, Bolton as an electrician.”

His name is on the roll of honour at St Paul’s Church, Astley Bridge.

Dennis, aged 75, said the name was not one he was familiar with. The paperwork was discovered among the belongings of his mother, Marjorie Dunn who was married to George Alwyn Dunn — known as Alwyn.

“I do wonder if he is any relation of my stepdad but I don’t know the name at all,” says Dennis, who has asked around the family to see if anyone knows anything but to no avail.

Dennis and his 64-year-old wife Shirley thought little about the documents until the centenary of World War One captured their attention.

“We suddenly thought we needed to do something about this,” says Dennis, who adds that a friend asked at the British Legion but they said they could not do anything with the documents.

Now he is hoping a reader will recognise the name.

“I would love to get these things back to the family. That is where they belong,” says Dennis.

Anyone who thinks they may know the family can get in touch with Gayle McBain on 01204 537269 or email gmcbain@theboltonnews.co.uk

Comments (1)

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10:13am Thu 7 Aug 14

rostron says...

Would be interesting if George knows of any ancestors, with Barnes name. I have it in my family, along with Jones, same area, !
Would be interesting if George knows of any ancestors, with Barnes name. I have it in my family, along with Jones, same area, ! rostron
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