Courage Remembered - The Directory Group

Courage remembered

A Petersfield Naval Officer who was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for his courage during the Battle of Jutland will be honoured with a commemorative stone in the town.

Commander Loftus Jones, who lived in what is now Moreton House, The Spain, was awarded the Victoria Cross for his conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty during the great First World War sea battle on 31st May 1916.

While leading an attack, Commander Jones’ Torpedo Boat Destroyer, HMS Shark, was damaged and disabled. He refused to leave his ship, continuing to issue orders even after losing a leg as enemy fire rained down on him and his crew.

The stone outside St Peter’s Church has been laid as part of a national scheme to honour heroes up and down the country.

Cllr Julie Butler, portfolio holder for customer relations at East Hampshire District Council, said: “Commander Loftus Jones’ story is one of incredible bravery and self-sacrifice and he is a worthy recipient of the Victoria Cross.

“It is important we remember the heroes of the First World War. The courage these men displayed against impossible odds should serve as an inspiration to us all.

“Petersfield has a strong naval tradition and many former and current servicemen live here today so it is fitting that Commander Jones’ story of heroism will be marked by this stone. It will serve as a reminder to future generations of the sacrifices made by these brave people to preserve the security and way of life we enjoy today.”

Communities Minister Baroness Williams of Trafford said: “The stone laid in honour of Loftus Jones provides a lasting legacy to his bravery and will enable Petersfield residents to gain a greater understanding of how a local hero played a key role in the history of the First World War.

“Loftus carried out astonishing acts of valour in service of his country and we all owe a huge debt to the brave heroes who served and lived through the First World War.

“They are just as inspirational now as they were a century ago.”

The Directory Group covers the following areas within Hampshire and West Sussex: Petersfield, Clanfield, Hayling Island, Cowplain, Waterlooville, Denmead, Purbrook, Widley, Farlington, Cosham, Drayton, Havant, Rowlands Castle, Emsworth, Southbourne, Westbourne, Bosham, Portsmouth, Alton, Alresford, Bentley, Four Marks and Meon Valley