[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
Eryl, Porth y Castell,
Barry, was until burgled some 10 years ago, the Jones’ family home. Miss
Gwyneth Vaughan Jones, Gareth Jones’ sister, then in her nineties had hoped to
end her days there, but due to the burglary this was not to be the case.
The house, which once echoed with the sounds of happy, lively conversation and
was full of life and laughter had taken on a lonely, melancholic air.
Clearing the house was of great sadness to her relations as its contents spanned
a hundred years of family history. Old photos of relatives long since
gone, many unnamed, kept as memories of the past by my grandparents along with
many other items of our family heritage were uncovered in every room. At
the bottom of the second flight of stairs leading to the attic with paper
peeling off the walls with age and plaster crumbling, amidst old domestic
equipment, I found a brown leather suitcase monogrammed with ‘G.R.V.J.’.
On opening it to my surprise I discovered that Gareth’s diaries had been
lovingly kept by my grandmother. Under the bed in what was my
grandmother’s room, thick with dust which nearly choked me, was a black tin
box with many of Gareth’s letters and other documents relevant to his death.
Nothing had been thrown away.
Since then I
have found many other items connected with his death and I am still doing so.
Recently, I discovered Gareth’s copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In
addition within a book in German entitled Kreig in China [War in China], a
letter from Baron von Plessen (who will be referred to later in the story), fell
out which has possibly never been read until now. He had returned the book
that belonged to my uncle and referred to him as ‘poor Gareth Jones’.
the Introduction, the reader will discover a brief history of his short but
eventful life. Then the story begins with a copy of his last letter home.
As a result of my investigations into his death, I realised that Gareth’s tale
of political intrigue commenced in Japan so my story then covers his experiences
from that country until his eventual capture by bandits in Manchukuo. I
have incorporated this into a ‘travelogue’ incorporating his many letters
and diaries. Though it may appear to be a separate story, it is none the
less, a colourful description of the Far East in the mid-thirties and portrays
the adventurous and inquisitive nature of a young journalist. His diaries
were written as an aide-mémoire, intended for the book that Gareth eventually
planned to write on his return. This will become apparent on reading some
of the chapters, particularly those on the Philippines. His letters home
are affectionate, showing great love for his family, and his diaries often
contain rather serious interviews with some of the most outstanding politicians
of the time. A scrapbook of worldwide newspaper reports on his capture,
subsequent murder by bandits was given by a journalist to his family, and
extracts taken from these reports as well as many others appear in chapters 14
and 15. In the final part of the book I have tried to piece together
whatever evidence there was and from this to investigate the reason for his
premature death. With this in mind I have researched many books, the
Public Record Office documents applicable and also letters sent to my
grandparents by David Lloyd George’s secretary Mr A.J. Sylvester. The
latter gave my grandparents so much support in their grief. Ultimately,
this is a story constructed faithfully from Gareth’s papers.
appeared to have been very influenced by a best-selling travelogue by Peter
Fleming entitled One’s Company, published in 1934. From this book
describing the author’s adventures in the Far East, Gareth planned his own
journey through China en route to Manchukuo.
photograph, card and newspaper cutting (except the maps) that I have used in the
book have come from those kept and treasured by my grandmother showing the depth
of loss that she felt from the death of her beloved son on the eve of his 30th
birthday. The quality reproduced may not be excellent, but they are worthy
of reproducing and this book is a dedication to my uncle’s short life and a
personal labour of love.
names of people and places in China are written in the form used in 1935 and
generally follow the Wade-Giles system of Romanisation. Occasionally, the
more modern system of pinyin has been added in parentheses.
understand Gareth’s tale, a background history of the period so relevant to
his death is to be found in Appendix I.
Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-17 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices. For all further details email: Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44) 0796 303 8888