Veteran Stories:
William E. Jones

Army

  • After serving overseas, William Jones was sent back to Canada to recover from injuries incurred during a gas attack. He posed for this photo will the many bottles of medication he had to take every day in the background.

    After serving overseas, William Jones was sent back to Canada to recover from injuries incurred during a gas attack. He posed for this photo will the many bottles of medication he had to take every day in the background.
  • William Jones (sitting cross-legged in the front row) and members of his Scottish regiment while in training at Valcartier, Quebec, August-September 1914. On the reverse, Welsh-born William joked about wearing a Scottish kilt, calling himself "McJones."

    William Jones (sitting cross-legged in the front row) and members of his Scottish regiment while in training at Valcartier, Quebec, August-September 1914. On the reverse, Welsh-born William joked about wearing a Scottish kilt, calling himself "McJones."
  • Postcard from the military hospital where William Jones was a patient in England. During the World War I, many private estates were converted to hospitals to care for wounded soldiers.

    Postcard from the military hospital where William Jones was a patient in England. During the World War I, many private estates were converted to hospitals to care for wounded soldiers.
  • Left: William Jones at the Sanitorium in Ste-Agathe, Quebec, where he was sent to recuperate after his war service was over. Right: a postcard of the sanitorium.

    Left: William Jones at the Sanitorium in Ste-Agathe, Quebec, where he was sent to recuperate after his war service was over. Right: a postcard of the sanitorium.
  • William Jones' Army pay book open to the page containing his will. In the event of his death, his belongings were to be sent to his mother, who was still living in Wales.

    William Jones' Army pay book open to the page containing his will. In the event of his death, his belongings were to be sent to his mother, who was still living in Wales.
  • William Jones served in the military again during the Second World War. Collection courtesy of Mr. Jones' daughter, Gwyneth Jones.

    William Jones served in the military again during the Second World War. Collection courtesy of Mr. Jones' daughter, Gwyneth Jones.
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In the summer of 1914, my father, William Emrys Jones, born in Bangor, north Wales, was a young and adventurous Welshman who emigrated to Montreal, Quebec and a new life. In August 1914, one month after his arrival, World War I was declared and in the same month he enlisted in the Royal Highlanders of Canada, 13th Battalion. Following a two-month training period in Val Cartier, Quebec, his battalion was posted to active duty in the battlefields of France where he was soon to experience the horrors of trench warfare. Wounded and chlorine gassed in the second battle of Ypres, in April 1915 he was returned to England for treatment. He was later sent back to Canada for a year of medical care at the reputed lung disease sanitarium in Ste. Agathe, Quebec, north of Montreal in the Laurentians. Results were gratifying. Under prolonged observation, he derived enormous therapeutic benefits during summers in the Ottawa Valley's Norway Bay, amongst magnificent aromatic Norway pines – a destination to become, many years later, our family's cherished summer place.

Renewed health eventually enabled my father to pursue a serious interest and career in physical education leading eventually to the Montreal School Commission's first physical educator's appointment. He was later promoted and worked for 38 years at Baron Byng High School, a school with a diverse student population that included Mordecai Richler. My father's unique and legendary discipline endeared him to his students who rewarded him with enviable award-winning gymnastic and competitive athletic achievements. In 1942, he became and honoured recipient of Quebec's Order of Scholastic Merit, the first and only one in his field.

In 1939, the declaration of World War II brought many former militia into various field, my father qualifying for Flying Officer in the newly established air cadet corps as well as Officer Commanding Montreal's combined air cadets at summer camps for the duration.

My father's successful goals led to a rewarding and happy life, despite lasting horrific war memories. At the age of 81, he succumbed to lung cancer attributed to the lung damage sustained in the 1915 chlorine gas attack at Ypres. Humourous, musical, sensitive and caring, he was a wonderful and devoted Dad.

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