Col Henry Helsham Helsham-Jones, Royal Engineers, 1838-1920. Of Holmwood, Surrey.
Born: 1 May 1838, Christened at St Mary, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1 June 1838 and died 5 April 1920. He is buried together with his second wife at St Mary Magdalene church in Holmwood.
Son of: Dr Richard Jones (1814-1888) and Elizabeth Jones (nee Helsham, 1801-1866).
1. Henrietta Elizabeth Helsham-Jones (born 2 March 1840) who never married (died November 1919?).
2. Arthur Helsham-Jones (born 25 May 1842, died 1919) who married Alice Harriette Elizabeth Tooke (1846-1929).
Henry married twice:
1. Elizabeth Jane Hesketh (1842-1869) at St Pauls Church, Southampton, 7 August 1867.
2. Mary Littledale Greenwood (Mrs Rohde Hawkins, 18??-1913), at St Saviours Church, Pimlico, London 20 September 1888.
With his first wife Elizabeth, Henry had issue:
1. Constance Mary Helsham Helsham-Jones (1868-1957) who married Maj Gen Frederick Crofton Heath-Caldwell CB RE (1858-1945).
2. Arthur Jones who was born in Delhi, 19 December 1869, and died the following year, 25 May 1870.
The information I have about Henry comes from the following sources:
1. He is briefly mentioned in the 'History of the Royal Engineers'.
2. He wrote a paper (a small book) and delivered a course of lectures at the Royal Engineers Institute, Chatham in December 1878. The booklet is titled 'History and Geography of Afganistan and the Afgan Campaigns of 1838-9 and 1842', printed 1879. He also wrote 'The Campaigns of Lord Lake against the Marathas, 1804-1806', which was published in the Professional Papers of the Corps of Royal Engineers, Royal Engineers Institute Occasional Papers Vol VIII, 1882.
3. His full name is on his daughters marriage certificate.
4. He made a lot of notes on his ancestors. Most of these notes are on scraps of paper but none make any reference to himself.
5. He is mentioned in "A Surrey Village The Holmwood" by Bill Smith, printed in 1982.
6. Small listing in the book "The Campaign of 1882 in Egypt" by Col. J F Maurice.
7. There is a copy of his military record at the Public Record Offiice at Kew.
8. A document from the Royal College of Arms allowing him to bear Arms, 1892.
9. His family photograph albums.
10. His will.
Henry seems to have spent his childhood days growing up in Woodbridge, Suffolk, where his father Richard Jones was one of the local doctors. Henry was commissioned in the Royal Engineers 1st August 1855 and this was to be his career for the rest of his working life. After an initial posting to Chatham his first overseas posting was to Gibralter from 1865 to 1867 during which time he married his first wife Elizabeth Jane Hesketh.
Henry and Elizabeth then set up home in India with a posting to Bengal in September 1867. Elizabeth gave birth to two children, the second of whom died in 1870 and Elizabeth is believed to have died around the same time. Henry continued his posting in Bengal until 1878 when he returned to the UK for a few years.
In 1882 Henry was once more overseas, this time in Egypt and it may have been here that he first met Frederick Crofton Heath who was later in 1889 to marry Henry's daughter Constance. While in Egypt, Henry was employed at Port Said under Admiral Hoskins and at Suez under Admiral Hewitt. He then joined the Army Headquarters at Ishmailia under Sir G Wolseley. Henry was also present at the battle of Tel El Kebir.
Henry is noted in the book "The Campaign of 1882 in Egypt" by Col. J F Maurice, as follows:
Jones, H.H., Lieutenant-Colonel, Royal Engineers. Was specially employed and present at occupation of Suez by Naval Brigade; affair at Shaluf; action at Tel el-Maskhuta; capture of Mahsama; and battle of Tel el-Kebir. Despatched "London Gazette," 8th September, 1882. 3rd class Medjidie; medal with clasp; bronze star.
Henry returned to the UK 31 October 1882 and was based at Aldershot for a few years and then on half pay. On 21 January 1888 he went to Malta which was to be his last posting before returning to the UK to retire 26 June 1889.
Henry changed his surname from Jones to Helsham-Jones 14 April 1888 and this appears to have been around the time of his father's death and Henry's second marriage. This seems to have been followed in 1891 by an official change of name and in 1892 by being given the right to bear arms from the Royal College of Arms.
Henry's crest was a raven, and his motto was 'Deus Pascit Corvos' which translates; God Feeds the Ravens. A bookplate survives in the family which was presumably Henry's however very few of his books survive and of those that do, none have a bookplate but just have his initials HHHJ.
He took up residence at Vigo in the village of Holmwood, near Dorking in Surrey, probably to be close to his daughter Constance, son in law Frederick Crofton Heath and grandchildren Cuthbert and Martin. The 1901 census records Henry living near Dorking with his second wife Mary Littledale Greenwood whom he had married in 1888. Mary was the widow of Major Rohde Hawkins and it would appear that Henry and Mary lived together at Redlands from 1888 until Mary died 27 April 1913. Redlands presumably then passed to the Rohde Hawkins and/or Greenwood family. Mary was the sister of John Greenwood and possibly also Sarah Greenwood of Exeter.
Henry's niece Alice Angelet Maguire nee Helsham-Jones kept a diary and mentions her uncle Henry as follows:
Uncle Harry was my father's elder brother and very like him in looks, they were often taken for one another. Nothing ever disturbed him, and he lived to be eighty without a wrinkle on his brow. He was very staid and deliberate, and had that maddening male habit of never stepping onto a train until the guard had blown his whistle. Wild capers grew at Malta in his day and were protected by a notice saying that no-one except the C.R.E. was allowed to cut capers in the Ditch. This caused some amusement when he held the appointment. He was a fine horseman and hunted entirely for the sake of the ride. When out with the Vine from Aldershot he once jumped on and off the Roman Wall at Silchester. He died pushing his bicycle up a hill on his way to see an old friend. He knew he had a bad heart but took no notice of it. The baker found him on the ground one day with his old horse Marston grazing beside him; no-one would ever have heard of it if the man hadn't come to the house next day and said 'How's the Colonel?
Mention is made of Henry in the booklet 'The Holmwood', compiled by Bill Smith, as follows:
Colonel and Mrs Helsham-Jones moved from Vigo to live at Redlands with Miss Helsham-Jones, but on the death of Mrs Helsham-Jones in 1913 Colonel and Miss Helsham-Jones moved to Moorfields. The whole family did an awful amount of good work for the church and the Colonel was a great figurehead in the village . . . The Colonels life ended very tragically - he collapsed and died riding his cycle at Trashurst Hill Dorking in 1920.
There is a brass tablet in the Holmwood church commemorating him.
In his will Henry left his entire estate to his daughter Constance Mary Helsham Heath-Caldwell (value £18,257). His will, dated 1914, was witnessed by his brother Arthur who was living with his wife Alice at Tile Barn, Woolton Hill, Newbury.