Books and Reviews
by David Oliver in Chronicl Powys
More Than a Grain of Truth; The Biography of Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones by Dr. Margaret Siriol Colley and privately published by her in June 2005 (ISBN 0 9537001 1 9). Copies are available from Dr. Colley, 3 Manor Court, Bramcote, Notts., NG9 3DR. at a cost of £14.50 + £2.95 p+p.
In 2001 the author published Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident, which was reviewed in the December 2001 issue of Cronicl Powys. This dealt with the latter years of the subject’s life culminating in his murder in Inner Mongolia in 1935.
Now, Dr. Colley has written in her own inimitable style about his whole life. As she states in the preface, “Using the rich legacy of his diaries, articles and letters to family, I have attempted to portray the gradual blossoming of an exceptional young man emerging from his college days into that of an increasingly respected journalist energetically going In Search of News.” In Search of News was in fact the title given to a book published by The Western Mail containing a selection of articles by Gareth Jones. It appeared in 1938 and proceeds from the publication were given to the Gareth Jones Memorial Fund to provide Travelling Scholarships in connection with the University of Wales.
A considerable amount of time had to be expended in research and in the presentation of material for this biography. Even so, the author had set her mind on completing the project by mid 2005. Unfortunately, because of inadequate proof reading, there are some typographical errors, but that does not detract from the fact that it is an easy book to read. Whatever its faults, it is wonderful that all this interesting information has now been placed in the public domain. There is no doubt that this young Welshman was cut off in his prime; he was only 30 years of age when he was murdered in China.
This paperback of 449 pages has 34 chapters, each one a story in itself. In addition, there are seven appendices and a useful index.
One may ask, why should it be of interest to anyone reading Cronicl Powys? The reason is that Gareth Jones was a descendant of William and Anne Jones, who lived at Blaenau, Cwmwysg, Breconshire, during the first half of the nineteenth century and was a Welshman to the core. He travelled widely and wrote about the Welsh countryside. His “Tales Told Round the Fireside of a Welsh Farmhouse” features Blaenau and can be accessed on the website www.garethjones.org Dr. Colley has her own website at www.colley.co.uk/siriol