|Date of Birth||March 1, 1889|
|Place of Birth||Swansea|
|Next of Kin||Wife: Mrs. Elizabeth Jones, Keewatin, Ontario|
|Trade / Calling||Upholsterer|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Kenora, Ontario|
|Address at Enlistment||Keewatin, Ontario|
|Date of Enlistment||March 3, 1916|
|Age at Enlistment||27|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||October 8, 1916|
|Age at Death||27|
|Buried At||Regina Trench Cemetery, Somme, France|
|Plot||III. B. 25.|
Thomas Edgar Jones was born 1 March 1889 in Swansea, Glamorgan, Wales to Thomas and Hannah Jones. When the 1901 census was taken he was 12 years old and living in Swansea with his parents, his sister Elizabeth, 15, and his brother William, 9. His father was working as a woodman on an estate and two older sisters, Mary and Sarah, had already left home. In 1911 Thomas Edgar was still listed at home in Swansea, 22 years old and employed as an upholsterer. The census records that his father, age 67, was an invalid and his parents had been married 34 years and had five children in all.
Thomas Edgar married Elizabeth Stephan Lamont in 1912 in Swansea and their son, Donald Edgar Jones, was born later that same year. Thomas immigrated to Canada via New York in May 1913 on the Carpathia. He was age 24, born in Wales, married, working as an upholsterer and going to Keewatin, Ontario. His wife followed later with their infant son. Thomas found work in Keewatin with the Lake of the Woods (flour) Milling Company. At the time flour was shipped and sold in cotton sacks and bags and skills like his were needed.
The war started in August 1914 and Thomas enlisted in March 1916, joining the local 94th Battalion. He was living in Keewatin at the time, 27 years old, married and working as an upholsterer.
Notes from the 94th Battalion’s website: On May 25, 1916, the men of ‘C’ an ‘D’ Companies from Kenora and Fort Frances were moved to the Lakehead and on June 9, 1916, the Battalion left for Valcartier, Quebec for ‘Summer Camp’ as it was called. For two hundred and five of these men it was the last time they were to see their families and friends. The 94th trained at Valcartier until June 13th when they sailed from Halifax for England on the RMS Olympic.
Although the 94th remained a battalion on paper until July 27th, 1918, with an office at East Sandling, if actually ceased to exist on July 13th, 1916 when it was broken up and the men were transferred to the 17th and 32nd Reserve Battalions to be used as replacements for casualties in front line units.
On 13 July Thomas was assigned to the 17th Reserve Battalion and after a further six weeks of training he was transferred to the 43rd Battalion (Cameron Highlanders) and sent to France. He spent some time at the Canadian Corps Reinforcement Camp then he was placed with an entrenching battalion for a week. It was the end of September before he joined his new unit in the field, in a draft of 27 men. Just over a week later Thomas was killed in the assault on Regina Trench. The 43rd Battalion started their advance at 4:50 on the morning of 8 October but they faced heavy German machine gun fire and they were held up by uncut barbed wire. Although a few men reached the objective they could not hold the position and they had to retreat at the end of the day. Casualties for the 43rd Battalion that day were 11 killed, 226 wounded and 125 missing. Thomas was one of the missing and he was later declared Killed in Action.
From the Circumstances of Death record for Thomas: Date of Casualty: 8-10-1916. ‘Previously reported Missing, now Killed in Action.’
Thomas was originally buried in Miraumont British Cemetery but after the war his body was exhumed and re-interred in Regina Trench Cemetery near the village of Courcelette in France. He is commemorated on the Keewatin Cenotaph, the Lake of the Woods Milling Company plaque, and page 111 of the First World War Book of Remembrance which is displayed in the Peace Tower of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa.
By Linda Pelletier