Edward Jones (British Army officer)

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Sir Edward Jones
Born (1936-09-25)25 September 1936
Altrincham, England
Died 14 May 2007(2007-05-14) (aged 70)
Inverness-shire, Scotland
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  British Army
Years of service 1956–1995
Rank General
Commands held 3rd Armoured Division
6th Armoured Brigade
1st Battalion Royal Green Jackets
Battles/wars Cyprus Emergency
Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation
The Troubles
United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus
Awards Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Commander of the Order of the British Empire
Mentioned in Despatches
Relations General Sir Charles Jones (father)
Other work Black Rod (1995–2001)

General Sir Charles Edward Webb Jones KCB, CVO, CBE (25 September 1936 – 14 May 2007) was a senior officer in the British Army. He served as Quartermaster-General and as Britain's military representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). He retired from the Army in 1995 to become Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod (or simply Black Rod) in the British Parliament's House of Lords, serving in that office until 2001.

Early life and education[edit]

Jones was born in Altrincham in Cheshire. His father was General Sir Charles Phibbs Jones.[1] Uniquely, he and his father were the only father and son to be members of the Army Board during the 20th century.[1] He was educated at Portora Royal School in Enniskillen.[1] He went up to Pembroke College, Cambridge, intending to pursue a career in the Diplomatic Service, but left after only 10 days to join the Army instead.[1]


Jones attended Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where he won the Infantry Sword of Honour, and was commissioned as an officer in the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry in 1956.[1] He served in operations against EOKA in Cyprus. In 1962, Jones commanded the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) Guard of Honour for Queen Elizabeth II at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, when the 43rd and 52nd colours were marched for the last time.[3] He served in Malaysia, countering incursions by Indonesia into northern Borneo, in the early 1960s.[1] Jones was adjutant of the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) whilst the regiment was stationed in Penang and on operations in the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation.[2] His regiment became the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) in 1958, and was merged into The Royal Green Jackets in 1966, becoming its 1st Battalion.

Jones married Suzanne Leschallas in 1965.[1] They had two sons and a daughter together.[1]

He took command of the 1st Battalion for a tour in South Armagh in 1975,[1] and was mentioned in despatches. During his period of command, the internal operations of his battalion were exposed to public scrutiny in Edward Mirzoeff's film, The Regiment. He also served with the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus in 1976.[1]

In the late 1970s, he was the colonel in charge of MO4, the office at the Ministry of Defence responsible for Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, when Airey Neave was murdered by a bomb at the House of Commons car park, and Provisional Irish Republican Army detainees undertook hunger strikes.[1]

Jones attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in 1980,[1] and was promoted to brigadier in 1981 to take command of the 6th Armoured Brigade in Germany, his first duty with the British Army of the Rhine.[1] He then took command of a British military team in Zimbabwe in 1983, establishing a working relationship with Robert Mugabe in the years after Zimbabwe became independent in 1980,[1] for which he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Jones was promoted to major general in 1985, and became Director-General of the Territorial Army at the Ministry of Defence. He then took command of the 3rd Armoured Division in Germany in 1987.[1] He was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1988 when he was promoted to lieutenant general, when he returned to London to become Quartermaster-General to the Forces.[1] He was tasked with remodelling the Army's logistics after the end of the Cold War, and continued in that position through the 1991 Gulf War. He was also Colonel Commandant of the Royal Army Education Corps from 1986 to 1992, and of the Royal Green Jackets from 1988 to 1995.[1]

Jones was promoted general in 1992, and became the UK Military Representative to NATO in Brussels, where he was able to make use of his fluent French.[1]


He retired from the Army in 1995 to become Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod (and ex officio Serjeant-at-Arms in the House of Lords, and Secretary to the Lord Great Chamberlain). The House of Lords Act 1999 was passed during his period of service, ending the right of hereditary peers to sit in the House of Lords.[1] He served as Black Rod from 9 May 1995 to 8 May 2001, and was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order when he retired in 2001.[1]

He was a commissioner of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea and chairman of the Council of Territorial Army, Volunteers and Reserves Associations from 1995 to 2001. He was also a vice-patron of St Dunstan's, a governor of Wellington College from 1997 to 2007, and chairman of the governors of Eagle House from 1999 to 2007.

He retired to a village in Wiltshire. He died while fishing on the River Findhorn in Inverness-shire. He was survived by his wife and their three children.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Obituary: General Sir Edward Jones The Times 17 May 2007

{2} The Gorget Journal of the 1st Green Jackets (43rd and 52nd) 1964 page 12. (3) Robin Anthony Draper (2015) Redcoats to Riflemen page 16.

Military offices
Preceded by
David Ramsbotham
General Officer Commanding the 3rd Armoured Division
Succeeded by
Michael Wilkes
Preceded by
Sir Charles Huxtable
Quartermaster-General to the Forces
Succeeded by
Sir John Learmont
Preceded by
Sir Richard Thomas
UK Military Representative to NATO
Succeeded by
Sir John Cheshire
Government offices
Preceded by
Sir Richard Thomas
Black Rod
Succeeded by
Sir Michael Willcocks