Private Kenneth Bryant Jones represents bravery and perseverance of Black Canadians in uniform during a less inclusive time
Article / February 1, 2019 / Project number: 19-0012
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By Jeremiah Hemens, Army Public Affairs
Ottawa, Ontario — Private Kenneth Bryant Jones’ service forms part of the legacy of contributions that many Black Canadians have made to Canada through the military, even during times where they had to overcome great challenges just to enlist.
On November 30, 1921 in Hamilton, Ontario, Private Kenneth Bryant Jones was born to Charles and Milgar Lee (née Johnson) Jones. He experienced tragedy in his early life, as he lost both his parents when he was just two years old and was separated from his siblings. He was adopted and raised by his uncle and aunt, George E. and Evelyn Louise Jones of Windsor, Ontario, while his brother and two sisters were raised by another uncle and aunt.
At the young age of 20, and during a time when Black Canadians struggled to even enlist in the military, Pte Jones demonstrated his bravery and commitment to Canada when he joined the Canadian Army in September of 1942. He provided military service for three years during the Second World War, including contributing to campaigns in Italy, France and Germany.
Pte Jones was a member of the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (RCASC). He and the RCASC played a key role in providing support to the troops, including the ground transportation and supply of food, equipment and ammunition.
However, Pte Jones’ service did not end there. As Canadians returned to the battlefield for the Korean War in 1950, Pte Jones re-enlisted and joined the Canadian Army Special Force, prepared to serve and sacrifice again.
The Korean War was fought from 1950 to 1953, where Pte Jones and more than 26,000 Canadians served on land, at sea and in the air to carry on Canada’s tradition of defending peace and freedom around the world.
During this bitter conflict in a rugged land far from home, 516 brave Canadians lost their lives – including Private Kenneth Bryant Jones.
Pte Jones was shot and killed instantly on January 8, 1952 in South Korea. At only 30 years old, he sacrificed his life for his country, and will be remembered for the courageous service he provided to Canada.
That service was honoured by no fewer than seven citations, including:
- the 1939-1945 Star
- the Italy Star
- the France and Germany Star
- the War Medal 1939-1945
- the Canadian Korea Medal
- the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal for Korea (with Clasp)
- the United Nations Service Medal (Korea)
He lies buried in the United Nations Cemetery in Busan, South Korea, one of 376 Canadians buried there among 2,267 other members of the United Nations coalition who fought there
to uphold of peace and freedom in South Korea.
Private Kenneth Bryant Jones is only one of the many Black Canadians to serve Canada, but his story truly represents the long history of service that Black Canadians in uniform have given to Canada.
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