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 Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)

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PostSubject: Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)   Sun Sep 04, 2011 2:24 pm

Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883) was the second of three sons of William Lowther Jones (1805-1852) and his wife, Louisa, nee Champion (1821-1911). His brothers were Champion Jones (1842-1891) and Douglas Jones (1846-1928). Walter was born in Malta on 7th March 1844 while his parents were touring Europe. He was educated in Wimbledon, London and Paris; in December 1863 he received a commission in the Royal Engineers. He served abroad continuously from 1868 to 1875 and became a Captain in 1877. Walter died of meningitis in Paris (while on leave visiting his mother, his father having died when he was eight years old). He was thiry-nine years old and had never married.
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PostSubject: Re: Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)   Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:36 pm

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Walter Parke Jones, Royal Engineers, photographed as a lieutenant in South Africa, circa 1872.
John Young Collection.

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PostSubject: Re: Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)   Tue Mar 28, 2017 1:59 pm

(Captain), son of WL Jones and born in Valetta, Malta while his parents were on a European tour, Jones was educated in Paris where his mother went to live after the death of her husband (1852). He entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and obtained a commission in the ROYAL ENGINEERS having graduated in 1863. He served in various parts of the world before coming to South Africa in 1872 where he was stationed at Pietermaritzburg, Major Durnford taking over from him and Jones remarked: 'we got on famously'. This may have been the time when he made design proposals for a defensive laager at Estcourt, to which he referred when hearing about the Bushman's Pass incident involving Durnford (November 1873). In May/June 1873 he was sent to King William's Town (the headquarters of the Royal Engineers) and, once Captain Tilly had been dispatched, was appointed D.C.R.E. of the Eastern Frontier District 'a post never held before by anyone under a Colonel, I believe' (KCM 42907, letter dated 29 Aug 1873). His job included an annual inspection of the old forts in British Kaffraria. In November 1873 he was directed to take over from Durnford (KCM 42907, letter dated 16 November 1873) since Durnford had been wounded) but was recalled in December having reached East London). He returned to Natal on a hunting expedition to the Drakensberg in March 1874 to celebrate 10 years service, returning to King William's Town and was back in Pietermaritzburg on an official tour in September 1874 and accompanied Durnford on a visit to Bushman's Pass. He returned to King William's Town via No Man's Land and was posted to Cape Town in November 1875 and back to Britain the same year. He wrote from Chatham in November 1878, about to embark for the Kaffir war. He served in this war in charge of an Engineer Field Company until the end of 1879 when he was posted back to Britain.

As far as his fort plans went, apart from a great many plans and copies of War Department plans carried out by him at King William's Town, the proposals at Estcourt were not carried out but he advised on Fort Melville (1879) and 'Fort Helpmakaar is to a great extent my baby. The site is vile. I did not choose it' (KCM 42906, letter dated 25 February 1879). His company was also working on an eight foot high stone wall at Rorke's Drift.

He served in Calcutta for about two years before being posted to London to command the 3rd Company, Royal Engineers, died in Paris as a result of meningitis and was buried at Passy Cemetery. Two known photographs of him exist.

(Cory Library for Historical Research, Rhodes Univ; Killie Campbell Libr KCM 42906 (photocopies of correspondence); Looking Back Dec 1983, April 1984)

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PostSubject: Re: Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)   Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:32 pm

Walter Parke Jones, located in the Passy Cemetery, Paris Île-de-France.
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PostSubject: Re: Major Walter Parke Jones (1844-1883)   Tue Mar 28, 2017 7:41 pm

In a letter home from Helpmakaar, on l6th.March,1879,Captain Jones wrote:

"Owing to the deaths at lsandhlwana, Bromhead, the second in-command at Rorke's Drift got his Company by promotion and he gets a brevet. This makes my Chard, who was in command, quite sure of a brevet, when he gets his Company, a year hence. Chard is in great luck, he left us at Durban, came up here quickly and comfortably, without all the bother of men sick, wagons sticking, etc. He leaves Isandhlwana camp an hour before the disaster, being ordered to look after the ponts over the Tugela, at Rorke's Drift. (writer's comment: an error; for Tugela, read Buffalo. It is also incorrect to say that, Lieutenant Chard was 'ordered to return to the ponbs". He actually returned on his own accord, after watching developments at Isandhlwana, which he read as possibly endangering his responsibilities at Rorke's Drift and returned there, to carry out the command duties that he had been given by Major Henry Spalding that very morning, before he , Major Spalding, set off for Helpmakaar, to bring up reinforcements for Rorke's Drift. "He there becomes a hero, gets fever and goes away on sick leave to a comfortable and hospitable house near Ladysmith, 60 miles off and vegetates there ever since. Not one iota of the work or drudgery does he get"..

In another letter, dated at St.Paul's, Zululand, on 2nd. August,1879, Captain Walter Jones wrote:

"Chard got his orders to leave No.5 Field Company for good and departed yesterday. He is a most amiable fellow and a loss to the Ness, but as a Company officer, he is hopelessly slow and slack. I shall get on much better without him, and with Porter (Lieutenant R.da C. Porter) as my senior Sub. - Chard makes me angry, with such a start as he got, he stuck to the Company doing nothing. In his place, I should have gone up and asked Lord Chelmsford for an appointment, he must have got it and if not, he could have gone home soon after Rorke’s Drift at the height of his popularity and done splendidly at home - I advised him, but he placidly smokes his pipe and does nothing. Few men get such opportunities.

In a letter from Cape Town, written on 16th.November,1879, Captain Walter Jones made his last reference to Major Chard: "Yesterday, we R.E's had a grand picnic up Table Mountain. Colonel Hassard( Colonel F.C.Hassard, CB; C.R.E. Pietermaritzburg) and family,five daughters,suppiied the grub, Lt.Cameron,R.E. (Lieutenant J.Cameron,No.7 Field Company, Royal Engineers) and self unlimited champagne and and drinks. The mountain 15 3680 odd feet high, a climb for the ladies. We started at 6 am and got home at 8.30 pm, a good long day. It was most enjoyable. The eldest Miss Frere (daughter oF Sir Henry Bartle Frere, Governor of Cape Colony and High CommIssioner in South Africa),one of our guests, had a letter from Princess Beatrice (a daughter of Queen Victoria),saying that Chard's modest, unassuming demeanor had put him in high favour with her Majesty etc. - it may lead to more good things for him. He is really in luck."
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