PRIVATE ELLIS JONES
23RD OCTOBER 1918 AGE 27
BURIED: ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT, FRANCE
Ellis Jones was the son of Ellis and Margaret Jones of Blaeneau-Festiniog and the husband of Katie Jane Jones of Port Talbot. This is all I can tell you with any certainty, other than the facts that he served with the 14th Battalion, Welsh Regiment, wasn't entitled to a 1914 or '15 Star and died on 23 October 1918. I am going to assume that he died of wounds because he's buried in a casualty clearing station cemetery, and I'm going to suggest that he was wounded in the 14th Battalion's attack on the 20th October when the war diary reported:
"Attacked and captured objectives from K10d 90 95 to K11a 30 00 stubborn resistance was met with. Prisoners taken about 75 including 2 officers. The enemy left a considerable number of dead our casualties slight. The battalion was relieved by 17 RWF & returned to Billets in Bertry. Remained in billets."
But I don't know.
Ellis Jones' wife, Katie, chose his inscription. It comes from a poem written by Claude Burton, who was a regular contributor to the Daily Mail under the pseudonym Touchstone. The poem is called Unknown Grave. Ellis Jones did not have an unknown grave but Claude Burton's son did. Captain Henry Charles Claude Burton was killed in action on 27 July 1916 in the fighting at Longueval and Delville Wood. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.
What does the inscription mean? In the poem, Claude Burton is saying that it doesn't matter if the soldier has no grave, we know his worth and our grief is the price we must pay for victory, to ensure that:
The banner that his hands unfurled
Still flies triumphant in the sun!
Taken out of context, as Mrs Katie Jones has done, the words are no longer the aim of victory but a statement that victory has been won.