A Second War South African Medal Group
A Second War South African Medal Group - Defence Medal (150673 B.E.R. JONES); 1939-1945 Star (150673 B.E.R. JONES): Africa Star (150673 B.E.R. JONES); Italy Star (150673 B.E.R. JONES); War Medal 1939-1945 (150673 B.E.R. JONES); and Africa Service Medal (150673 B.E.R. JONES). All are officially impressed as issued. Unmounted, original ribbons, near extremely fine. Accompanied by a complete set of six original stamped paper packets of issue for the medals, a Union Defence Forces Medals Transmittal Slip (in English and Dutch), fourteen pages of service papers and ten pages of additional research papers. Footnote: Basil Edwin Rys Jones was born at Robertson, Cape Province on March 27, 1908. He had registered with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants on March 27, 1927, at which time he was articling with N.S. Wood. The registration commenced on April 1, 1926 and ran for four years, expiring on April 1, 1930, however, the registration itself was cancelled by mutual consent on October 5, 1928. He enlisted in the South African Forces on September 19, 1940 at the age of 34, stating that his trade was that of Accountant and that he had worked for Parry, Leon and Hayhoe, Port Elizabeth and naming his next-of-kin as his wife, Mrs. Linda Leibbrandt Jones of 93 Galway Road, Parkview, Johannesburg (1940) and later, of Mount Pleasant, The Fairway Camps Bay, Cape Province (1941), the couple having no children. Jones applied for enlistment to the Active Citizen Force on May 19, 1940, his application stating that he was a Union National that had lived only in South Africa, that he had previous military service with the National Volunteer Reserve Brigade and that he had a preference for service in an Anti-Aircraft unit, with his second choice being Transport. As a Gunner, he received his first posting into the Cape Province Artillery Brigade. He attested for service on May 10, 1941 for service anywhere in Africa and joined the 1st Heavy Battery at Cape Town. He was transferred to the 5th Heavy Battery on June 20th, and later, joined the 3rd Anti-Aircraft Regiment of the South African Artillery on November 18th. He served at first with 8 Battery, then with 7 Battery beginning on December 22nd. He remained with 7 Battery until March 1, 1942, when he was promoted to Lance-Bombardier and attached to the South African Artillery Depot at Ottery Camp for training on the 8th Anti-Aircraft Cadet Course. Eleven days later, he joined the 4th Heavy Battery SAA on the 12th and remained with them until June 1st, when he was placed with the 1st Searchlight Regiment SAA until August 1st, when he participated in the 8th course at the SAA Depot. Following the course, he was promoted from Lance-Bombardier to 2nd Lieutenant on September 19th. This new rank brought a new appointment on the same day, as Section Commander with the 2nd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery, 3rd Regiment SAA, joining his new unit on the 23rd. He was posted to the 7th Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery SAA, once again as a Section Commander, on October 6th, joining them on the 16th and serving for four months. He was then transferred from the 7 Battery at Premier Camp to the Reserve of Officers of the 12th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment on February 10, 1943 and was carried against the 20% Reserve of the latter unit. Jones was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant after six months' commissioned service on March 19th. He officially completed his service with the Union the next day and after one month's leave, he embarked Durban on April 19th, arriving in Suez, Egypt on the 30th and commencing service in the Middle East with 1/12th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment SAA. He remained with the unit in Egypt for the remainder of 1943, where it was part of the forming of the 6th South African Armoured Division, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel G.W. Meister. The formation of the division was beset by manpower problems, the position of the Anti-Aircraft units made more difficult with an on-going dispute between the Army and the Air Force. At first, the 1/12th LAA Regiment was an Army formation. When the 56th LAA Battery South African Air Force was posted to it, the latter was administered by the Army. Towards the end of 1943, the 44th LAA Regiment SAAF arrived in the Middle East with no clear instructions for training, equipment or organization, thus creating further confusion. In the new year, the SAAF took over control of all Anti-Aircraft units on January 1, 1944. The 1/12th Regiment was to remain an LAA unit, and all the Africa Service personnel who had taken the General Service Oath (to serve anywhere) by February 1st and who wished to stay with the SAA, were transferred to the Field Artillery of the 6th South African Armoured Division. Therefore, Jones left the 1/12th LAA Regiment on January 23rd and was posted to the Division Reserve Artillery Regiment (AA Branch). He completed his service in Egypt on March 5, 1944 and two weeks later, became a War Substantive Lieutenant. The following month, Jones was transferred from the South African Artillery to the South African Air Force on April 1st, for service with the 1/12th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment again, arriving in Italy on April 14th, as part of the 6th South African Division. The decision was made in Pretoria that the Regiment, armed with Bofors LIght Anti-Aircraft guns, should come under SAAF command. They never fired a single shot at the enemy, due to the decline of the Luftwaffe in the Italian theatre. With a lack of targets, the unit began to deploy in different roles: three officers and 105 men joined the Natal Mounted Rifles in June 1944 as an infantry component, serving with them in the mountains near Chiusi. The NMR were quipped with tanks but needed an infantry force with it, to counter the efforts of German tank-hunting parties and ambushes by Anti-Tank posts. Shortly afterwards, the detachment served with the NMR in the liberation of Florence. The detachment sent to the NMR was part of a wider deployment of Anti-Aircraft personnel, with many of the units being short of manpower and requiring reinforcements. After the success of the German 88-mm and 20-mm Anti-Aircraft guns in North Africa, where they were used in the Anti-Tank role, it was questioned as to why the artillery commander should set up an entire Anti-Aircraft regiment, whose guns had no aircraft to fire upon and whose Bofors equipment were quite ineffective against the German armour of 1944. The Regiment was not suited to the prevailing conditions in Italy, the unit being reduced from 54 guns to 36 guns in July 1944. The following month, the 6th South African Armoured Division crossed the Arno River west of Florence in August. During this operation, some five artillery regiments were assembled, to bombard enemy positions. The 1/12th LAA Regiment was responsible for Anti-Aircraft cover along the entire front, with special regard to the gun areas. During the winter of 1944, an infantry company drawn from the unit held part of the divisional front on Monte Stanco for three months, with other detachments employed on various tasks in the forward areas. The unit was placed in an strange situation: being administered by the South African Air Force but drawing its personnel from the South African Artillery Anti-Aircraft and Coastal artillerymen. Jones left the 1/12th LAA Regiment SAAF on December 1, 1944 and rejoined the SAA on the 19th, posted to the Reserve Artillery Regiment in the Divisional Reserve Group, Central Mediterranean Force. He remained with the latter for four months, when he was attached to 7/23rd Medium Regiment SAA on April 11, 1945, posted off the General List. The 7/23rd Regiment had served throughout the Italian campaign and by this time, had three batteries: one with 3.7-inch guns, the other two with 5.5-inch guns. Just three days after joining the unit, Jones took part in what was to be the batteries' last major action of the war - a powerful bombardment on April 14, 1945, which marked the last South African offensive in Italy, culminating in the laying upon of heavy fire upon retreating German columns at Casa Chiselline and Bersaglia on April 22nd. He remained with the unit in Italy until December 23rd, when he arrived in Egypt and was placed on the General List with the South African Artillery. He boarded an aircraft at Cairo West for the trip home to the Union on January 5, 1946, taken on strength at the Base Depot in Voortrekkerhoogte three days later. His Field Allowance was withdrawn on the same day, the 8th, and he was also granted thirty days N.R.S.L. & R. allowance on the 11th. Jones was released from service upon demobilization on February 9, 1946, granted pay and allowance in lieu of 38 days vacation leave. Seven years later, in 1953, his medals were despatched to his next-of-kin, his wife, Mrs. Linda Leibbrandt Jones. The Union Defence Forces Medals Transmittal Slip accompanying the medals acknowledged that he was to receive the aforementioned six medals, with a message inscribed: "The Chief of the General expresses his deep regret that THE LATE B.E.R. JONES did not live to receive the enclosed awards for service during the war of 1939-45." Basil Edwin Rys Jones had passed away before the medals could arrive in his hands.