Alun Gwynne Jones, Baron Chalfont
|The Right Honourable
The Lord Chalfont
OBE MC PC
Chalfont during a visit to Germany in 1966
|Born||Alun Arthur Gwynne Jones
5 December 1919
|Years of service||1939–61|
|Unit||South Wales Borderers|
|Awards||Officer of the Order of the British Empire
Early life and military career
Gwynne Jones was educated at West Monmouth School, and subsequently at the School of Slavonic Studies in the University of London. Joining the South Wales Borderers when the Second World War broke out, he was commissioned a second lieutenant on 2 November 1940. From 1941 to 1944 he fought in Burma alongside the Welsh poet Alun Lewis. On 1 January 1943, he received an emergency commission in the Royal Armoured Corps as a war-substantive lieutenant, with the same rank in the South Wales Borderers from 1 April. After the war, Gwynne Jones remained in the Army, receiving a substantive lieutenant's commission in the South Wales Borderers on 24 August 1946 (with seniority from 5 June 1942), and was promoted to captain on 5 December. He was awarded the Efficiency Medal in October 1950. Promoted to major on 5 December 1953, Gwynne Jones took part in a series of anti-terrorist campaigns, and was decorated with the Military Cross (MC) in August 1957 for commanding a company which fought in the Malaysian jungles during the Malayan Emergency, after his involvement in a series of ambushes against communists. Gwynne Jones later stated, "I was lucky enough to carry out some successful ones." The citation reads as follows:
For gallantry and relentless determination during a period of eighteen months in command of his company in jungle operations. By his personal share in difficult, hazardous and successful operations, he set a fine example to those around him.
Gwynne Jones was brevetted to lieutenant-colonel on 1 July 1960, and was decorated as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1961 Birthday Honours. He retired from the army on 30 June 1961 with the honorary rank of lieutenant-colonel.
Created a peer, becoming Lord Chalfont, he was a minister in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 1964 to 1970 and appointed to the Privy Council in the former year. On 27 March 1967, in the House of Lords, Chalfont became the spokesman/figurehead for Harold Wilson's Labour Government's attempt to divest Britain of the Falkland Islands. In November 1968 Chalfont travelled to the Falklands to canvas the people, and try to persuade them of the merit in becoming Argentine citizens. He was sent away in no doubt that the islanders wished to remain British, but, on his return to Britain, he reported, “I do not believe that the Falkland Islands can continue to exist for many years, as they are presently constituted. I believe one day that the Falkland Islands may be prepared to choose Argentine sovereignty. We must at all costs avoid giving the impression that we want to get rid of them, since that would set up precisely the reaction we would want to avoid”.
Chalfont resigned from the Labour Party in the early 1970s. He declared his resignation a "decision of personal and political principle". In October 1974, just after Labour won a second general election that year, he stated in an interview with the BBC journalist Robin Day: "I had hoped for a realignment of the politics of the radical left in this country and I believed when I left the Labour Party that a great success by the Liberal Party in this election could have helped that forward."
He was created Baron Chalfont, of Llantarnam in the County of Monmouthshire on 11 November 1964. His life peerage is the most senior extant (since the death of Lord Shawcross in 2003), and Lord Chalfont is placed higher in the order of precedence than four hereditary barons whose inherited titles were created after his.
He contributed an article on The Strategic Defence Initiative to the Conservative Monday Club's October 1985 Conservative Party Conference issue of their newspaper, Right Ahead. Chalfont is a former chairman of the Radio Authority which regulated commercial radio in the UK until its role was absorbed by Ofcom. Chalfont set up the Institute for the Study of Terrorism with Jillian Becker in 1985.
He retired from the House of Lords on 10 November 2015.
Styles of address
- 1919–1946: Mr Alun Gwynne Jones
- 1946–1950: Captain Alun Gwynne Jones
- 1950–1953: Captain Alun Gwynne Jones
- 1953–1957: Major Alun Gwynne Jones
- 1957–1960: Major Alun Gwynne Jones MC
- 1960–1961: Lieutenant-Colonel Alun Gwynne Jones MC
- 1961–1964: Lieutenant-Colonel Alun Gwynne Jones OBE MC
- 1964: Lieutenant-Colonel The Right Honourable The Lord Chalfont OBE MC
- 1964–: Lieutenant-Colonel The Right Honourable The Lord Chalfont OBE MC PC
Marriage and child
Chalfont was married to Mona Mitchell, daughter of Harry Douglas Mitchell, in 1948. She died on 31 May 2008. Together they had one child, a daughter.
- 1976: Montgomery of Alamein. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
- 1979: Waterloo: Battle of Three Armies. Anglo-Dutch by William Seymour; French by Jacques Champagne; Prussian by E. Kaulbach; prologue & epilogue by Lord Chalfont; edited by Lord Chalfont. London: Sidgwick & Jackson. ISBN 978-0283987489.
- 1985: Star Wars: suicide or survival? London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
- 1987: Defence of the Realm. London: Collins.
- 1989: By God's Will: A Portrait of the Sultan of Brunei. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
- 2000: The Shadow of my Hand. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (autobiography).
- "Lord Chalfont". UK Parliament. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "No. 34995". The London Gazette (Supplement). 15 November 1940. p. 6624.
- See The Fragile Universe: A Portrait of Alun Lewis, dir. by John Ormond (Cardiff: BBC Wales, 1969)
- "No. 36085". The London Gazette (Supplement). 6 July 1943. p. 3104.
- "No. 36182". The London Gazette (Supplement). 21 September 1943. p. 4238.
- "No. 37698". The London Gazette (Supplement). 20 August 1946. p. 4238.
- "No. 37823". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 December 1946. p. 6168.
- "No. 39039". The London Gazette (Supplement). 13 October 1950. p. 5082.
- "No. 40033". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 December 1953. p. 6588.
- "No. 41257". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 December 1957. p. 7428.
- "No. 42112". The London Gazette (Supplement). 5 August 1960. p. 5451.
- "No. 42370". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1961. p. 4149.
- "No. 42400". The London Gazette (Supplement). 27 June 1961. p. 4838.
- "No. 43492". The London Gazette. 17 November 1964. p. 9821.
- Interview with Lord Chalfont BBC October 1974. Starts at 2min 30 sec on clip. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XVUvCalI_g.
The Lord Shawcross
|Senior life peer