30 January 2013

( select to enlarge )

Medal entitlement of Commander Loftus Jones,
Royal Navy ( HMS 'Shark' )

  • Victoria Cross
  • 1914-15 Star
  • British War Medal ( 1914-20 )
  • Victory Medal ( 1914-19 )
  • King George V Coronation Medal ( 1911 )

The Victoria Cross and First World War campaign medals awarded to Commander Loftus Jones, Royal Navy ( HMS 'Shark' ) have been acquired by the Michael Ashcroft Trust the holding institution for the Lord Ashcroft VC Collection. The Loftus Jones VC group had previously been on a long loan to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth.

[ London Gazette, 15 September 1916 ] Commander Loftus Jones. Recommended for posthumous honour for fighting his ship until she sank after having been seriously wounded.

For the award of the Victoria Cross

[ London Gazette, 6 March 1917 ], Battle of Jutland, North Sea, 31 May 1916, Commander Loftus William Jones, Royal Navy ( Command HMS 'Shark' ).

In recognition of his most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty in the course of the Battle of Jutland. The full facts have only now been ascertained.

On the afternoon of the 31st May 1916, during the action, Commander Jones in HMS 'Shark' Torpedo Boat Destroyer, led a division of Destroyers to attack the enemy Battle Cruiser Squadron. In the course of this attack a shell hit the 'Shark' bridge, putting the steering gear out of order, and very shortly afterwards another shell disabled the main engines, leaving the vessel helpless. The Commanding Officer of another Destroyer, seeing the 'Shark' plight, came between her and the enemy and offered assistance, but was warned by Commander Jones not to run the risk of being almost certainly sunk in trying to help him.

Commander Jones, though wounded in the leg, went aft to help connect and man the after wheel. Meanwhile the forecastle gun with its crew had been blown away, and the same fate soon afterwards befell the after gun and crew. Commander Jones then went to the midship and only remaining gun, and personally assisted in keeping it in action. All this time the 'Shark' was subjected to very heavy fire from enemy light cruisers and destroyers at short range.

The gunís crew of the midship gun was reduced to three, of which an Able Seaman was soon badly wounded in the leg. A few minutes later Commander Jones was hit by a shell, which took off his leg above the knee, but he continued to give orders to his gunís crew, while a Chief Stoker improvised a tourniquet round his thigh. Noticing that the Ensign was not properly hoisted, he gave orders for another to be hoisted. Soon afterwards, seeing that the ship could not survive much longer, and as a German Destroyer was closing, he gave orders for the surviving members of the crew to put on lifebelts. Almost immediately after this order had been given, the 'Shark' was struck by a torpedo and sank. Commander Jones was unfortunately not amongst the few survivors from the 'Shark' who were picked up by a neutral vessel in the night.

Margaret Jones, the widow of Loftus Jones, was invested with her husband's Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 31 March 1917.

The story of Loftus Jones' dedication to duty and bravery came out some time after the battle and therefore the award of the Victoria Cross was not gazetted until the 6th March 1917.

On the 23rd October 1916 Margaret Jones received a letter from the Admiraly informing her that Commander Jones' body had been washed ashore off the coast of Sweden and on the 24th June 1916 had been buried in Fiskebakskil Churchyard, Vastra, Goetland. The funeral had been attended by many local people and a monument had been erected through subscriptions from local fishermen. In 1961 Loftus Jones' body was transferred to the British War Graves Kviberg Cemetery in Gothenburg.


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Iain Stewart, 30 January 2013