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101-year-old given new war medals after originals lost in fire

Bill Jones served in the Navy during the Second World War

22 August, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

Clive Montellier and Bill Jones

A 101-YEAR-OLD veteran has been awarded new war medals after the originals were destroyed in a fire.

Bill Jones, who lives in Camden Town, joined the Royal Navy aged 21 and served as a signalman in the Second World War.

But four medals recognising his service were destroyed in a flat fire around 20 years ago.

Mr Jones, who now lives in Pennethorne House in Albany Street, Camden Town, said: “At the time, I thought I would find them some- where, and then after a while, I gave up. As I was getting older, I thought: I would like to have these medals.”

At an event on Thursday, he was surrounded by friends and family as Clive Montellier, from the Ministry of Defence, presented him with the replacement medals.

Mr Montellier thanked Mr Jones for his service as he handed over the replacement honours on a red cushion. Union Jack flag bunting had been put up around the sheltered housing block for the short ceremony.

Mr Jones’ family now plan to take him for the first time to participate in the Armistice Day parade in central London this November.

David Jones, Mr Jones’ 71-year-old son, said: “There’s not many left like dad and we should always remember the contribution people like dad have made.”

Mr Jones’ great nephew Simon Robinson was instrumental in organising the award ceremony.

“He kept saying he wanted to see them before he croaked it,” said Mr Robinson. “So I made it my mission to make sure he got them back.”

The medals are the Atlantic Star, the Burma Star with a Pacific Clasp, the 1939 to 1945 Star and the War Medal.

Mr Jones has lived in Camden all his life. He was born above a boot shop called Holts in Kentish Town Road and went to Hawley School, Camden Town.

He joined the Navy in 1939 and was posted around the world as a signalman, while spending two years between 1940/41 on a minesweeper, a small naval warship.

He married his wife Rhoda while on leave from the Navy – they were married for 70 years until she died in 2011.

After leaving the armed forces he worked at Smiths Clocks and Watches in Cricklewood for 12 years before a 15 year stint at Philips Electrics.

The New Journal covered Mr Jones’ 100th birthday bash last year, and on turning 101 in April, Mr Jones said: “I feel it sometimes but I think to myself, I don’t feel 101.

“If somebody gave me a new pair of legs I would be running around.”

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