Col H Jones in Falklands War, was he reckless?..

Jun 2015
255
London UK
Was he reckless? I recall around the time some said he was and didnt feel he deserved the VC because the bunker he attacked was later taken by his unit. Others suggested he was the highest ranking officer killed in action out there, and didnt want any negative propaganda. My initial reaction from someone with non combat TA experience many years back, was how can a colonel get a VC? Why was he attacking a machine gun bunker? His job is to command control and direct the battle not get involved in individual firefights. Surely he could have ordered a sub altern or NCO to take out the bunker in question?

Was he too gung ho? He was given gallantry medals for services in Northern Ireland. I also read his father was American so was he influenced by stereotypical US gung ho tactics?

Another point, i read he was not a 'born and bred' Para who served all his career in that regiment. He was originally from the Devon and Dorset regt and joined the 2Paras as CO following service in Northern Ireland command staff. He was only with the Paras for a year before the Falklands. I thought to be a commander of an elite unit like the Paras, you would have to be part of it or with a few years experience working your way up, since they are very specialised. Parachute training and airborne drops excercises of course, is. Wouldnt some in the regt under his command, question his suitabilty since he was, 'not one of us'? So could that be a reason for his aparent gung ho? He was out to prove himself or impress?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-454279/Was-Colonel-H-mad-fool.html


Army top brass had doubts over Lt Col 'H' Jones's Falklands VC - Telegraph
 
Last edited:

Earl_of_Rochester

Ad Honoris
Feb 2011
13,609
Perambulating in St James' Park
The guy was nuts, he led from the front and according to his training record his death was 'typical of the man'.

I had the pleasure of crashing outside a tent after a few drinks on a ww2 reenactment weekend with a former Para officer and Falklands War vet, he had some interesting stories.
 

Bish

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
8,206
Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk.
Was he reckless? I recall around the time some said he was and didnt feel he deserved the VC because the bunker he attacked was later taken by his unit. Others suggested he was the highest ranking officer killed in action out there, and didnt want any negative propaganda. My initial reaction from someone with non combat TA experience many years back, was how can a colonel get a VC? Why was he attacking a machine gun bunker? His job is to command control and direct the battle not get involved in individual firefights. Surely he could have ordered a sub altern or NCO to take out the bunker in question?

Was he too gung ho? He was given gallantry medals for services in Northern Ireland. I also read his father was American so was he influenced by stereotypical US gung ho tactics?

Another point, i read he was not a 'born and bred' Para who served all his career in that regiment. He was originally from the Devon and Dorset regt and joined the 2Paras as CO following service in Northern Ireland command staff. He was only with the Paras for a year before the Falklands. I thought to be a commander of an elite unit like the Paras, you would have to be part of it or with a few years experience working your way up, since they are very specialised. Parachute training and airborne drops excercises of course, is. Wouldnt some in the regt under his command, question his suitabilty since he was, 'not one of us'? So could that be a reason for his aparent gung ho? He was out to prove himself or impress?



Army top brass had doubts over Lt Col 'H' Jones's Falklands VC - Telegraph
I have heard from a few Para's who were there that they thought he was reckless. You are right, it was not his job to be attacking the position, he had a whole battalion to do that. Having served at a Company level command group on OP's, I know my OC would not get some involved, to many other things to be worry about.

I know in Regular Inf Battalion's it is not unknown for a CO to come in from another Regt. But ye, I would have thought the Para's would have been different. But seeing as they no longer jump into action and am not sure it would have really made a difference. What the para's did at Goose Green was the same as any regular Inf Battalion should have been able to do.
 
Oct 2014
273
Poole. UK
Difficult to answer unless you were there. I was not, but! 2 PARA were bogged down, they then won the battle, so it is hard to critisise H Jones as it could be claimed that his actions turned the tide of the battle.
 
Dec 2011
473
N. Ireland
Yes, Reckless.
That was a job for a Sergeant, not a Colonel. I am sure the Paras would have found one, or more willing to do it, had Jones not rushed in first.
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,698
Georgia, USA
Difficult to answer unless you were there. I was not, but! 2 PARA were bogged down, they then won the battle, so it is hard to critisise H Jones as it could be claimed that his actions turned the tide of the battle.
It was beyond reckless.

He was leading a single battalion against a force about twice their size. His action didn't alter the balance of the battle.


What if the paras were facing a competent military force, losing their CO in the middle of the battle was hardly a good thing.


Jones was stupid and vain. Stupid to think he was invulnerable and unlikely to be hurt much less killed. And vain in that he wanted glory - well he got it.
 

Poly

Ad Honorem
Apr 2011
6,698
Georgia, USA
Yes, Reckless.
That was a job for a Sergeant, not a Colonel. I am sure the Paras would have found one, or more willing to do it, had Jones not rushed in first.

There was a sergeant with him.
 

Scaeva

Ad Honorem
Oct 2012
5,630
Would we be having this discussion if an Argentine bullet hadn't found him?

I can think of a few military leaders who behaved similarly, and who are also held up as the ultimate examples of combat leadership, because they had better luck.

"Mad" Jack Churchill, Lewis "Chesty" Puller, ect.

Where is the line between reckless and daring?
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,817
Spain
Colonel H. Jone was a brave and courage soldier. Honor for him. He was killed by the conscript Óscar Ledesma (19 yo in 1982). Today he lives in La Carlota, Córdoba.
He said the Colonel was at the head of a 15 paratroopers squad. Jones went forward and he didn´t see the Ledesma´s machine-gun, who was about 20 metres from him. Ledesma shot and Jones fell down wounded. The British officer put one hand in his waist looking for a grenade. In that moment, Ledesma shot a second blast and Jones died. It was 06:30 am. Ledesma told he didn´t know the man he killed was the officer and today, a 52 yo father (two sons), he say he never hated the British, nor nowadays nor in 1982. He doesn´t considered a heroe or a good soldier.. he killed the British Officer only because Jones didn´t see his machine-gun, only 20 metres from him.

La historia del soldado argentino que mató al jefe de paracaidistas inglés
 

Edric Streona

Ad Honorem
Feb 2016
4,531
Japan
Would we be having this discussion if an Argentine bullet hadn't found him?

I can think of a few military leaders who behaved similarly, and who are also held up as the ultimate examples of combat leadership, because they had better luck.

"Mad" Jack Churchill, Lewis "Chesty" Puller, ect.

Where is the line between reckless and daring?
He was/is usually considered a hero. While it was probably wiser for him to stay back and lead from rear. Quite possibly people would be criticizing him now for not being at the front.

The man who killed him was on argentine TV boasting about it with some very disgusting journalists.

I think the line between reckless and heroic is very fine. Charge into a burning building to save a kid? Survive your a hero. Die reckless.

Parachute from the edge of space. Die.. Idiot. Survive ... Hero.

Lead from the front... Like Murat, Ney, Mad Jack Churchill or Puller and your good while your luck holds out.