Gareth Jones

[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]



Stop Press


Complete Soviet Articles & Background Information


Précis of Gareth's Soviet Famine Articles


All Published Articles




Tell Them We Are Starving




Eyewitness to the Holodomor



More Than Grain of Truth



Manchukuo Incident





'Are you Listening NYT?'  U.N. Speech - Nov 2009


Gareth Recognised at Cambridge - Nov 2009


Reporter and the Genocide - Rome, March 2009


Order of Freedom Award -Nov 2008


Premiere of 'The Living' Documentary Kyiv - Nov 2008


Gareth Jones 'Famine' Diaries - Chicago 2008


Aberystwyth Memorial Plaque 2006





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Eryl, Porth y Castell, Barry, was until burgled some 10 years ago, the Jones’ family home.  Miss Gwyneth Vaughan Jones, Gareth Jones’ sister, then in her nineties had hoped to end her days there, but due to the burglary this was not to be the case.  The house, which once echoed with the sounds of happy, lively conversation and was full of life and laughter had taken on a lonely, melancholic air.  Clearing the house was of great sadness to her relations as its contents spanned a hundred years of family history.  Old photos of relatives long since gone, many unnamed, kept as memories of the past by my grandparents along with many other items of our family heritage were uncovered in every room.  At the bottom of the second flight of stairs leading to the attic with paper peeling off the walls with age and plaster crumbling, amidst old domestic equipment, I found a brown leather suitcase monogrammed with ‘G.R.V.J.’.  On opening it to my surprise I discovered that Gareth’s diaries had been lovingly kept by my grandmother.  Under the bed in what was my grandmother’s room, thick with dust which nearly choked me, was a black tin box with many of Gareth’s letters and other documents relevant to his death.  Nothing had been thrown away. 

Since then I have found many other items connected with his death and I am still doing so.  Recently, I discovered Gareth’s copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf.  In addition within a book in German entitled Kreig in China [War in China], a letter from Baron von Plessen (who will be referred to later in the story), fell out which has possibly never been read until now.  He had returned the book that belonged to my uncle and referred to him as ‘poor Gareth Jones’. 

In the Introduction, the reader will discover a brief history of his short but eventful life.  Then the story begins with a copy of his last letter home.  As a result of my investigations into his death, I realised that Gareth’s tale of political intrigue commenced in Japan so my story then covers his experiences from that country until his eventual capture by bandits in Manchukuo.  I have incorporated this into a ‘travelogue’ incorporating his many letters and diaries.  Though it may appear to be a separate story, it is none the less, a colourful description of the Far East in the mid-thirties and portrays the adventurous and inquisitive nature of a young journalist.  His diaries were written as an aide-mémoire, intended for the book that Gareth eventually planned to write on his return.  This will become apparent on reading some of the chapters, particularly those on the Philippines.  His letters home are affectionate, showing great love for his family, and his diaries often contain rather serious interviews with some of the most outstanding politicians of the time.  A scrapbook of worldwide newspaper reports on his capture, subsequent murder by bandits was given by a journalist to his family, and extracts taken from these reports as well as many others appear in chapters 14 and 15.  In the final part of the book I have tried to piece together whatever evidence there was and from this to investigate the reason for his premature death.  With this in mind I have researched many books, the Public Record Office documents applicable and also letters sent to my grandparents by David Lloyd George’s secretary Mr A.J. Sylvester.  The latter gave my grandparents so much support in their grief.  Ultimately, this is a story constructed faithfully from Gareth’s papers. 

Gareth appeared to have been very influenced by a best-selling travelogue by Peter Fleming entitled One’s Company, published in 1934.  From this book describing the author’s adventures in the Far East, Gareth planned his own journey through China en route to Manchukuo. 

Every photograph, card and newspaper cutting (except the maps) that I have used in the book have come from those kept and treasured by my grandmother showing the depth of loss that she felt from the death of her beloved son on the eve of his 30th birthday.  The quality reproduced may not be excellent, but they are worthy of reproducing and this book is a dedication to my uncle’s short life and a personal labour of love. 

The names of people and places in China are written in the form used in 1935 and generally follow the Wade-Giles system of Romanisation.  Occasionally, the more modern system of pinyin has been added in parentheses. 

To understand Gareth’s tale, a background history of the period so relevant to his death is to be found in Appendix I.

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