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Robert Clyde Jones was born in Forbes in 1895. His father was Richard Edward Jones of Tamworth and his mother Alice Maud Peters of Summerhill Creek. Richard and Alice were married in Orange in 1889 and had several children. Robert was educated at Orange East Public School.

Maud Jones died in Orange in June 1913. It is unclear when Robert’s father passed away but when Robert enlisted in WWI in January 1916 he nominated his stepbrother, Percival Arthur Lewis, as his next of kin. His will dated 8 July 1917 stipulated:

In the event of my death I bequeath all my money and deferred pay to my step brother Percival Arthur Lewis

Robert embarked from Sydney on 14 April 1916, a private in the 4th Battalion, 17th Reinforcement, D company. He arrived at Suez on 17 May and was reallotted to the 14th Training Battalion at Tel-el-Kebir. On 21 June he embarked HT Invernia at Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force in France.

On 17 April 1917 Robert was promoted to the rank of Lance Corporal with the 56th Battalion. He attended Corps School from 29 May until 22 June, when he rejoined his battalion. Three months later the 56th Battalion was engaged in the Battle of Polygon Wood on the Western Front when Lance Corporal Jones was killed in action, one of three men from the Orange district to be killed in that battle. He has no known grave.

The news of Robert’s death did not reach Orange until November 1917; the Leader reported:

The sad news has been received in Orange of the death of Lance-Corporal Clyde Jones, who was killed in action somewhere in France on the 29th September [sic]. The deceased hero was a native of Orange, and 23 years of age… His only brother, Ted, is at present with the Light Horse in Palestine. Both boys are very well known and highly respected in Orange and district.

In May 1918 Robert’s stepbrother Percival received Robert’s personal effects: one testament, one wallet, a purse, his birth certificate, some photographs, a one mark note, and 14 coins.

Four years later, on 2 May 1922, Percival completed a statutory declaration to say that Robert had an older brother: Albert Jones of 54 Grosvenor Street in Woollahra, and in July that year Robert’s war medals were issued to Albert.

Robert Clyde Jones is commemorated on the Orange East Public School Honour Roll, the World War I Roll of Honour on the southern face of the Orange Cenotaph, on panel 29 of the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial in Belgium and on panel number 162 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.

He is also remembered in Newman Park in Orange, where his name appears on a plaque commemorating former Orange East Public School students who were killed in action and on his mother Alice’s grave in Orange Cemetery, Methodist Section E, Grave 27.

In 1923 the Anzac Memorial Avenue of trees was planted along Bathurst Road to commemorate fallen WWI soldiers. A tree was planted in honour of “Pte RC Jones”; it was donated by Eyles and Eyles. Very few of the trees are still standing today.

Robert Clyde Jones memorial plaque, Orange Cemetery. Image courtesy Orange Cemetery.