35823 Trooper Leonard (Len) Stephen Jones – Imperial Camel Corps

Leonard (Len) Stephen Jones was born on 22nd July 1886 the second son of Stephen and Hannah (nee Harris) Jones[i].
Both the Harris and Jones families had long association with the Pauatahanui area so Len and his sibling were bought up with a large number of Jones and Harris cousins. Len and his younger sister Eva are both registered as attending Pauatahanui School from 1895[ii].

Len also as a young man played sports pictured with the 1909 Pauatahanui Cricket team[iii].

Len Jones as a member of the 1909 Pauatahanui Cricket team 

On 16th October 1916 Len attested in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force his military
papers list him as a 30 year old single man working as a farmer for the NZ Defence
Department. Len’s Next of Kin is listed as Mr Stephen Jones of Owen Street, Wellington
and this is the address that Len indicated that was his residence. The only injury noted on
medical forms was a sprained wrist which had occurred in 1914 / 15. Len indicated that
he would prefer to serve in a Mounted unit[iv].

                                                     Len entered camp as 35823 Private Leonard Stephen Jones,
                                                     23rd Reinforcements, NZ Mounted Rifles. Training at
                                                     Featherston Private Jones was transferred to the 22nd
                                                     Reinforcements on 13th February 1917 but sailed on
                                                     19th April 1917 as Trooper Jones, 23rd Reinforcements, Mounted Rifles.

                                                             Trooper Jones 1917 , 23rd Reinforcements, 1917 

                                                      The 23rd Reinforcements were transhipped at Sydney but Trooper Jones was admitted to                                                               hospital, in Sydney, on 30th April 1917 with a poisoned hand. Trooper Jones later sailed                                                                 from Sydney on 9th May 1917 arriving in Egypt on 20th June 1917.

                                                       Trooper Jones was first posted to the Training Regiment then on 27th July 1917 Trooper                                                                  Jones was posted to 16th (New Zealand) Company, Imperial Camel Corp.
Imperial Camel Corps (ICC).  

Camels with their ability to carry heavy loads and go for days without water made them ideally suited for patrol and transport work during the desert campaigns of the First World War[v]. The camels would bring troops up to the action where the riders would dismount and attack as infantry.

Trooper Jones was with his unit until 12th November 1917 when he was posted to
hospital with ‘synovitis’  to the left wrist. The inflammation of the wrist made it impossible
to control a camel. Trooper Jones remained in hospital until 6th March 1918 when he was
fit enough to be posted back to the 16th Company, ICC. The ICC was involved in the
Jordan River campaign and Trooper Jones was to be brought up to the area one of the
as reinforcements. On 16th May 1918 Trooper Jones was admitted to hospital with
initially ‘wrist drops’ but a later report noted that he had been kicked in the left wrist by a
camel. The camel were used for their bility to carry heavy  loads but were notorious as
stubborn creatures and known to attack people.[vi]

A New Zealand camelier with two mounts 

Trooper Jones remained in hospital until the 29th August 1918 when he was diagnosed
as having compound fractures of the bones of his wrist and was invalided back to
New Zealand. leaving Egypt on 29th August 1918 arriving back in New Zealand on
7th October 1918.

Trooper Jones was given a civic reception in Pauatahanui on 1st November 1918 where
he was presented, by the residents of Pauhatanui.where he was presented with
‘tokens of esteem’ including a gold Maltese Cross suitable inscribed.

Len moved back to Pauatahanui, he married Emily Maud Bacon in 1921[vii] and his
medals were sent to him there in 1922. The couple had three children twin girls and a son
before Emily Maud Jones died in 1929. Len later married Phyllis May McWhannell in

Leonard Stephen Jones died in Lower Hutt, Wellington on 4th October 1956[ix].

Len Jones is commemorated on the Roll of Honour, St Alban’s Church, Pauatahanui[x].

 400 – 450 men from NZEF served with the ICC

The Imperial Camel Corps: NZ History Online
Pauatahanui – a local history
Paperspast Online
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files

1909 Pauatahanui Cricket team (cropped): Pataka Museum
Trooper Jones, 23rd Reinforcements: Jones family collection 
Maltese Cross presented to Trooper Jones: Jones family collection
Cameliers at Battle of Magdhaba 1916: NZHistory.govt.nz
NZ Camelier with two camels in Sinai Desert: NZHistory.govt.nz

[i] NZ BDM
[ii] Pauatahanui School pupils 1873 - 2005
[iii] Pauatahanui – a local history
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 35823 Trooper Leonard Stephen Jones
[v] The Imperial Camel Corps
[vi][vi] The Imperial Camel Corps
[vii] NZ BDM
[viii] NZ BDM
[ix] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 35823 Trooper Leonard Stephen Jones
[x] Pauatahanui – a local history
NZ Cameliers in action  - 1916