Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jones, Harry David
JONES, Sir HARRY DAVID (1791–1866), G.C.B., lieutenant-general royal engineers, youngest brother of Sir John Thomas Jones, bart. [q. v.], was born at Landguard Fort, Felixstowe, Suffolk, on 14 March 1791. He joined the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, on 10 April 1805, and on leaving received the appointment of ‘candidate for the corps of royal engineers,’ passed a probation of six months on the ordnance survey of England, and was gazetted second lieutenant of royal engineers on 17 Sept. 1808.
His first station was Dover, where he was employed on the extensive fortifications then in progress. He was promoted first lieutenant on 24 June 1809, and the following month embarked with the expedition under Lord Chatham for the Scheldt, landed with it on the island of Walcheren, and was engaged in the reduction of Flushing and the other operations of the campaign.
He returned to England in January 1810, and in the following April was sent to the Peninsula. He took part in the defence of Cadiz under Sir Thomas Graham, and embarked with the force under Colonel Stewart sent to relieve the Spanish garrison of Tarragona. He then joined the army under Wellington in time to take part in the assault and capture of Badajoz, and he continued with Wellington's army through the campaign of 1812–13. He was present at the battle of Vittoria on 21 June 1813 with the 5th division under General Oswald. At the siege of San Sebastian Jones was adjutant of the right attack. He led the ‘forlorn hope’ at the unsuccessful assault of 25 July 1813, and, in the hope that renewed efforts would be made, he held the breach, with a few determined men inspired by his example, until the whole party were either killed or wounded and made prisoners. Jones himself was severely wounded, and remained a prisoner until the castle surrendered on 8 Sept. 1813. The town had been carried by assault on 31 Aug., and during the week the castle continued to hold out, the prisoners were equally exposed with the garrison to the overwhelming vertical fire of the besiegers. For his gallantry on this occasion and in compensation for his wound Jones received a year's pay. He was sufficiently recovered from his wounds to join the 5th division at the passage of the Bidassoa under Sir Thomas Graham, and was present at the battle of Nivelle on 10 Nov. 1813 under General Oswald, at the battle of the Nive, where he was again wounded, under General Hay, and at the blockade of Bayonne under Lieutenant-general Sir C. Colville. For his conduct in these operations the thanks of the master-general of the ordnance were expressed to him by a circular to the corps through the inspector-general of fortifications, and he was promoted second captain on 12 Nov. 1813. For his services in the Peninsula he received the war medal and five clasps.
In February 1814 Jones joined at Dauphine Island the expedition against New Orleans under Sir John Lambert, and was sent on a special mission to New Orleans under a return flag of truce. In 1815 Jones joined Wellington's army after Waterloo, was present at the capture of Paris, and commanded the engineers at Montmartre. He remained in France with the army of occupation, and was appointed a commissioner with the Prussian army under General Zieten.
On his return to England in 1818 he was quartered at Plymouth. In 1822 he obtained six months' leave of absence, and accompanied his brother John in an inspection of the Netherlands fortresses. In 1823 he was removed to Jersey, and in 1824 was appointed adjutant and field-work instructor at the royal engineer establishment at Chatham. In the same year he married Charlotte, daughter of the Rev. Thomas Hornsby, rector of Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. On 29 July 1825 he was promoted first captain. In 1826 he was sent to Malta, and while stationed there he was despatched to the African coast to superintend the embarkation of some classic columns for George IV. In 1833 he was sent from Malta to Constantinople to report on the defences of the Dardanelles and Bosphorus, and on the conclusion of this duty proceeded to England overland. On his return to Malta in 1834 he was again ordered to Constantinople to prepare the necessary plans for the ambassador's residence, and returned to Malta when they were completed. In May 1835 Jones was ordered home, and on 1 July was appointed a commissioner for municipal boundaries in England. On 2 Dec. 1835 he was appointed a member of the commission for the improvement of the navigation of the river Shannon. On this commission he sat for several years, though his services were not confined to this duty. On 11 Feb. 1836 Jones was appointed first commissioner for fixing the municipal boundaries in Ireland, and on 20 Oct. the same year was made secretary to the Irish railway commission. He was also directed to report on the state of distress in co. Donegal, and was employed on special service at Dover. On 10 Jan. 1837 he received a brevet majority, and was employed in the same year on special service under the admiralty. In April 1839 he was appointed commanding royal engineer at Jersey, but in November following he was seconded and appointed to the Shannon commission. On 7 Sept. 1840 he was promoted lieutenant-colonel. His services in Ireland were so highly appreciated that when in 1842 he was offered an appointment at headquarters, he was, at the urgent request of the lords of the treasury, retained in Ireland, and on 15 Oct. 1845 was appointed chairman of the board of public works in Ireland.
After the death of his brother, Sir John Jones, in 1843, he edited a third edition of the ‘Journal of Sieges carried on by the Army under the Duke of Wellington in Spain during the years 1811 to 1814,’ to which he added considerable information in the body of the work and a copious appendix. This edition was published in 1846. At the time he was a member of the relief committee under Sir John Burgoyne, and in 1847 he received the thanks of the treasury and of the prime minister, Lord John Russell, for his exertions. In 1850, in accordance with regulations, having served ten years uninterruptedly in the civil employment of the state, he had to revert to military duty, and was appointed in March of that year to command the royal engineers in North Britain. On 1 May 1851 he was selected to fill the important position of director of the royal engineer establishment at Chatham. He there introduced a system by which officers and men of the line should be instructed in field works, and made the value of the pick and shovel more practically known to the army at large. In 1853 Jones accompanied Lord Lucan to Paris on a mission from the queen to the emperor of the French. In April 1854 he was again sent to Paris by Lord Raglan, master-general of the ordnance, to report on a new pontoon adopted by the French. In May and June of the same year he was president of two committees on the royal sappers and miners, which led to their name being altered to that already held by their officers, viz. royal engineers, and various alterations were made in their dress and equipment.
On 7 July Jones became full colonel, and on the declaration of war with Russia he was appointed (10 July) brigadier-general, and placed in command of the forces to be employed in the Baltic in land operations. He embarked on board the Duke of Wellington, Sir Charles Napier's flagship, and in August landed at Bomarsund, in command of the British portion of the allied land forces. On the capitulation of the fort the works were demolished, and the island was abandoned. He received the thanks of the queen, communicated by despatch of the secretary of state, for his services in the Baltic. In October he returned to England, and resumed his duties at Chatham. On 12 Dec. he was appointed major-general on the staff, and ordered to proceed to Constantinople as commandant of that city, but on his arrival in January 1855 he found orders awaiting him to join the army before Sebastopol without delay. On 10 Feb. he was put in orders as commanding royal engineer of that army. Here he distinguished himself by his old indefatigable energy. Not a day passed that he did not visit the trenches. He was present at the unsuccessful assault on the Redan on 18 June, and was severely wounded in the forehead by a grapeshot, and mentioned in despatches by Lord Raglan. For his wound he received 100l. On 30 July he received the local rank of lieutenant-general. At the general assault on 8 Sept. he was carried in a stretcher to the trenches that he might have a share in the last effort of the siege. On this occasion he was specially mentioned in despatches by Sir James Simpson, the then commander-in-chief. In the course of the year he received the following distinctions and decorations: K.C.B., first-class military order of Savoy, second-class Medjidie, British war medal for Baltic, war medal and clasp for Sebastopol, Sardinian medal and Turkish medal.
Soon after the fall of Sebastopol his wound necessitated his removal to Scutari, and in October to England. In January 1856 he was a member of the council of war in Paris, presided over by the emperor of the French, who invested him with the order of commander of the Legion of Honour. On 12 April 1856 he was awarded a good service pension of 100l. per annum. On 29 April he was appointed governor of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst. In May he was also made a member of the commission on the system of purchase in the army, presided over by the Duke of Somerset. On 20 Aug. 1859 he was appointed chairman of the Royal Commission on the Defences of the United Kingdom. On 6 July 1860 he was promoted lieutenant-general, and on 2 Aug. the same year he became a colonel commandant in the corps of royal engineers. In 1861 he was appointed hon. colonel of the 4th administrative battalion of the Cheshire rifle volunteers. He was made a G.C.B. the same year, and also commander of the Sardinian order of Savoy, and hon. D.C.L. of Oxford. He died in harness at Sandhurst, esteemed, admired, and regretted, on 2 Aug. 1866, and was buried there in the cemetery of the Royal Military College. His portrait, painted by E. U. Eddis, hangs in the mess-room of the royal engineers at Chatham. A memorial tablet was placed by his brother officers in the chapel of the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, 'in admiration of his character and distinguished services.'
Jones read the following papers to the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which he was an associate, and they are printed in the 'Proceedings:' 'Observations upon the Sections of Breakwaters as heretofore constructed, with Suggestions as to Modifications of their Forms,' ii. 124, 1842; 'Remarks on the Diving Bell used in the Shannon Works,' v. 347, 1846; 'Description of a Bridge erected at Athlone by the Commissioners for the Improvement of the River Shannon,' viii. 296-303. He also contributed to the 'United Service Journal' in 1841 a narrative of seven weeks' captivity in San Sebastian from the first storming to the capture of the castle in 1813. He wrote several articles in the 'Professional Papers of the Royal Engineers,' and in 1859 he compiled the second vol., 4to, of the official journal of the 'Siege of Sebastopol,' the first volume having been the work of Sir Howard Elphinstone. In 1861 he edited his brother Sir John's 'Reports relating to the Re-establishment of the Fortresses in the Netherlands from 1814 to 1830,' i. 800. They were, however, printed only for private circulation.[Corps Records; Despatches; Royal Engineers Professional Papers; Memoir by Major-general Sandham]