One of the last Second World War paratrooper veterans dies aged 95

Tributes have been paid to one of the last Second World War paratrooper veterans from the Black Country who has died aged 95.

Mr George Jones, with his wife of 73 years, Bessie
Mr George Jones, with his wife of 73 years, Bessie

George Jones, who was born in Tipton and later moved to Tividale, was enrolled in the Third Battalion Anti-Tank Parachute Regiment.

He saw a "lot of action" during the war when he was parachuted in to Oosterbeek, Netherlands, and made his way on foot to the Battle of Arnhem.

The conflict took place from September 17 to September 26, 1944. The battle saw approximately 1,984 Allied troops killed, with the Allies being forced to retreat.

The veteran sadly lost two of his best friends who were both killed in action at the aged of 19 – one being from Dudley and the other being from Scotland.

A clipping from the old 'Bovis Post', which mentions Mr Jones and his sons working together

Mr Jones was awarded a number of medals for his service, including one of 720 issued in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Third Battalion of the Parachute Regiment.

It was during this time in the battalion where he met his wife Bessie, through her brother who was in the 1st Airborne Division, and the couple were married on May 22, 1948.

And after the war he became a skilled carpenter, before joining house-building company Bovis Homes, which is now part of Vistry Group, as a finishing foreman in 1979.

Preferring to work outdoors than in an office, Mr Jones worked alongside his sons – Steve and Trevor – at the company and stayed there until he retired in 1992. He worked his way up to site manager and covered developments in Kidderminster, Solihull, Bridgnorth and Redditch.

Mr George Jones, with his wife of 73 years, Bessie

Steve, Mr Jones' son, said: "My dad admired the people he worked with and also the management side of his work when he progressed to that point in his career.

"He also appreciated being able to work with Trevor and I and we always had a good time while we worked. My mum and dad thoroughly enjoyed the work dos, they attended every one they could – they always had a great time and loved what Bovis Homes stood for, especially its family values.

“When my dad was a youngster he worked in an office as a clerk and he didn’t like it – he wanted to work outside and as part of a team and that’s what he did. It was the camaraderie at Bovis Homes that made it fun, there were great people who worked very hard. I worked there for 10 years and Trevor did until he retired, we were all employed by the company for a long time.”

The veteran, who boxed for Tipton, kept his love of boxing throughout his life and met one of his heroes at a Bovis Homes event at the Grosvenor House in London. He returned home with a signed photograph of British heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper.

Mr Jones was also a talented calligrapher and would create festive cards for family and friends. He enjoyed art and creating things and would make wheelbarrows, benches and bird boxes in his spare time.

Bessie, Mr Jones' wife of 73 years who is also 95, said: “When George joined the veteran regiment there were a lot of people who received a wheelbarrow from him! We had great times together, the Bovis Homes work dos were a real highlight and we had some wonderful holidays – I treasure them all, he was a great man.”

George also leaves behind his three grandchildren Christopher, Ryan and Robbie, and two great grandchildren, Freya and Jimmy, who he was extremely proud of.

Keith Carnegie, CEO of Vistry’s housebuilding division, added: “We are very sorry to hear of George’s passing, we have enjoyed seeing the old photographs and reading about his time at Bovis Homes and he was by all accounts a wonderful employee who was dedicated to his work and family.

"Vistry has a strong family ethos and we are glad George, Steve and Trevor had long careers with us. Our deepest sympathies go out to all of George’s family and friends.”

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