A British Legion standard bearer visits Barrie Jones's immaculate grave in Singapore,possibly the only person to  have visited his grave.

This is a sad tale, a story of a man that two neighbouring villages, Gorebridge and Newtongrange, apparently do not want on their war memorials. Their reasons are different but the effect is the same.

 

His daughter Elizabeth (pictured above) now approaching her 70th birthday has no place locally to commemorate her father’s memory.

 

Barrie was born in the village of Cockpen which lies between the much larger villages of Newtongrange and Bonnyrigg, Midlothian. The family subsequently move to Newtongrange and live at 1 then 5 the Main Street. In 1943 Barry (aged 20) marries Elizabeth Mary Paterson from Gowkshill, a stones throw from the village, in Stobhill Church, as is normal for the era, Barry and Elzabeth move in with her parents.

 

In 1944 they are blessed with a child Elizabeth. Barry is away from home, he in serving in the Far East with Royal Navy, when the war ends he is stationed at HMS Landswell in Singapore, his duties bring him into contact with Japanese POWS who are being held in Singapore.

 

On the 14th of January, 1946 he is returning to the base in an open transport lorry, the lorry hits a bump and Barrie is thrown from the vehicle onto the road, he suffers massive head injuries and quickly succumbs to them. Barrie was buried with full military honours on the 16th of January, 1946 at 11am in Bardurdari Cemetery, Singapore and a cross erected on his grave.

 

The sad news is conveyed to his widow, his daughter is a toddler and does not understand her daddy is dead.

 

In 1955 the Imperial War Graves Commission inform Elizabeth Jones that Barrie’s grave is to be relocated to Kranji War Cemetery, which subsequently occurs in 1957.

 

When the time came to add names to Gorebridge WW2 Memorial Barrie’s name was put forward as his wife was from the Gorebridge District, however he was declined as the panel deciding who went on the memorial, decided that Barrie was a resident of Newtongrange, not Gorebridge so should go on their memorial.

 

When his name was put forward to go on Newtongrange War Memorial, they decided that as he died by accident, and after the war, he was not eligible for a place on their memorial. Of the two decisions Newtongrange’s is the most shameful, their reasoning does not stand up to scrutiny,ie “Barrie died of an accident after the war was finished”.

 

On the WW1 memorial they already have a man who killed by a train whilst on leave, two who died from influenza, one who died from heart failure. Why is Barrie Jones so different from these men?

 

I do not disagree that these men should be on the memorial, on the contrary I believe that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission standards of eligibility should be applied fairly and consistently to each man, not randomly.

 

To finish I will repeat the criteria laid down by the CWGC for eligibility, Midlothian Council,Newtongrange please get your act together, do the right thing, you are beginning to make me ashamed of my village, something I thought I would never say as a proud Nitten man.

 

CWGC Citeria

Second World War – 3rd September 1939 to 31st December 1947.

 

The location of their death and the cause of death are immaterial to their qualification. They could have been killed in action, died of wounds, died of illness or by accident, died due to suicide or homicide or suffered judicial execution. CWGC treats all casualties equally and all must be commemorated under the terms of their Royal Charter.