Second World War veteran celebrates 100th birthday
PUBLISHED: 14:44 24 January 2018
Archant Norfolk 2018
A decorated Second World War veteran known for his bravery and sense of adventure has celebrated his 100th birthday.
Arthur Jones, of Halesworth, was born on January 21, 1918.
Originally from Lewisham, Mr Jones held a number of jobs before the war including working as a chef and delivery driver.
However, when war broke in 1939 Mr Jones enlisted in the British Army and travelled to the Middle East as part of the Royal Army Service Corps (RASC).
It was his responsibility to supply food, water, fuel and other military equipment to soldiers behind enemy lines.
The desert terrain was unforgiving but Mr Jones thrived in the conditions.
He said: “I loved the desert. My strongest memory is of the sky at night. There were millions and millions of beautiful stars.”
Mr Jones would bury food and supplies in the “empty zone” - the desert behind enemy lines - and also took part in reconnaissance and rescue missions.
Never was his bravery more apparent than when he rescued eight British soldiers who had become lost in the Saudi Arabian desert when their vehicles broke down.
Mr Jones said: “The empty zone is a very deadly place and no one liked to go in it but they asked me if I would find them.
“It took me three days to find them and they had ran out of food. Their sergeant had gone crazy and was tied to the side of the truck.”
For his valour the centenarian was awarded the oak leaf emblem and mentioned in a Dispatch for distinguished service in the London Gazette.
Mr Jones went on to serve around the world and after seven years returned home and received a further eight medals including the African star and Italian star. While working at Eastern Electricity in Romford he met his wife Eileen and the pair moved to Halesworth in 1963.
Even though his service had ended Mr Jones continued to embark on adventures and even navigated the first channel crossing on a hovercraft in 1966.
The veteran believes the secret to a long life is sheer determination.
He said: “You should never give in to anything or anybody.”