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Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones


Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones, the son of Major Edgar and Mrs. Annie Gwen Jones was born in Barry, South Wales on August 13, 1905 and died in mysterious circumstances in Inner Mongolia.  As a budding young journalist, he paid the ultimate price whilst endeavouring to search for the truth.


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[1].  Tragically, his promising career was brought to an untimely end by his death on August 12, 1935.  Dying on the eve of his thirtieth birthday in the wilds of Inner Mongolia, before he had truly made his mark in the world, Gareth accomplished more in his short life than most men are able to, even when blessed with longevity. 


This biography traces his story ranging from college days at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth College, three years at Cambridge, his experiences with the former First War Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, to his period in the United States when during the Depression, he was employed by Ivy Lee , the publicity mogul.  It describes Gareth’s observations of the rise of Nazism and his revelation of the iniquities of the Soviet Five-Year plan of Collectivisation and Industrialisation.  It also touches on his visits to Austria, Czechoslovakia and to Italy where he reported on Mussolini’s dictatorship. 


The period of Gareth’s short life worthy of recounting covers the early thirties when nations feared the advent of a second war following so soon after the catastrophic Great War.  This terrible war had killed a generation of young men with elderly politicians left to rule the countries of Europe.  Gareth, who had been employed by David Lloyd George, a signatory of the Treaty of Versailles, understood the ensuing acrimony following this Treaty, with the subsequent bitterness, its consequences, and the failure of its revision.  By spending a year in the United States, Gareth appreciated the viewpoint of the Americans, who had failed to sign the Treaty, and their policy of isolationism.


Shortly after Gareth’s arrival in New York, he was invited to accompany Jack Heinz II to the Soviet Union for six weeks.  There they saw the unfolding of the calamitous famine arising from Stalin’s obsession to carry out his Five-Year Plan of Collectivisation and Industrialisation.  It was Gareth’s second visit to the Soviet Union and Ukraine.  Gareth’s time in the U.S.A. was cut short by the Depression which had hit the country so severely, and he returned to the office of David Lloyd George, where unbeknown to many, he assisted the former Prime Minister in researching his War Memoirs.  He spent a further year with Lloyd George before joining The Western Mail. 

In early 1933, in his last two months of employment with the former Prime Minister, Gareth made his foray to Germany and the Soviet Union.  As a freelance journalist during this period, Gareth had two ‘scoops’; that of being the first foreign journalist to fly with Adolph Hitler, after his appointment as Chancellor, and his exposure of Joseph Stalin’s famine in the Soviet Union, following an ‘off-limits’ unaccompanied trek into Ukraine in the spring.  Gareth spoke German fluently and had visited Germany every year since 1923.  He also had specialised at university in the Russian language and culture so that he might visit the Soviet Union (known more often then as Russia),  and was shocked by the brutal policies of Stalin and the Bolshevik regime.  Following this exposé, an attempt was made to humiliate Gareth by Walter Duranty  and other Moscow  correspondents, despite the fact that he had the courage to stand up and be counted, daring to put his head above the parapet, and reveal with true honesty the plight of the Soviet peasant, millions dying from imposed starvation. 


After writing many articles on the famine in the USSR in April 1933, and following his condemnation by colleagues and politicians, Gareth had a period in the wilderness and for some reason wrote no further articles in Britain on the appalling Soviet situation.  During the year of 1933, while working for the Western Mail, he wrote some delightful articles describing the rural Wales of by-gone days.  He had great affection for his motherland and in his articles he frequently compared the situations abroad with the Principality.  Throughout his writings are reflected his Welsh roots and interlaced are his family values of Liberal non-conformism and his desire for peace.  Nor must we forget Gareth’s account of his conversations with the Irish politicians, so influential, but divisive in their views on problems of the Emerald Isle in 1933-34.  Both Wales and Ireland had been dominated by England, and Gareth was profoundly aware of the repressive treatment of the minorities in other European countries, championing their cause whenever it was possible.


In the summer of 1934 after his period away from the reporting of European political events, Gareth was to return to Germany and Austria where he reported on three tragedies, that of the Night of the Long Knives, the murder of Chancellor Dollfuss of Austria and the untimely death of the elderly President Hindenburg.  In the June he was to interview William Randolph Hearst for the first time in his retreat in Wales, St Donats at Llantwit Major.


In late 1934, Gareth embarked on a ‘Round the World Fact Finding Tour’, spending three months in the United States.  On January 1, 1935 at the ranch, San Simeon’s he interviewed for a second time, Hearst , who had developed strong anti-Communist views, and Gareth was commissioned by the newspaper magnate to write further articles condemning the Soviet regime.  These were published in Hearst ’s newspapers and the stance by Hearst caused bitter controversy in America .  The stormy debate which followed, may have brought attention again to Gareth, the Communist antagonist.  Gareth had conveyed to a friend that in 1933, the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maxim Litvinov, had accused him of espionage and that he, Gareth, had been placed on the black list of the O.G.P.U.


Leaving America, Gareth travelled to the Far East, and in Japan he interviewed politicians of world-wide renown.  His final destination was to be Manchukuo, an area he was never to reach.  Tragically, Gareth was to become the victim of what should have been his third ‘scoop’, but which was to result in his murder in Inner Mongolia.  Japan was a field about which he knew little, and he intended to investigate the intentions of this far-flung land of the “Rising Sun” in northern China.  Japan, having designs of territorial expansion in the region, was a cauldron of intrigue, the deviousness of which a trusting and adventurous Gareth may well have been unaware.


Following his investigation of the political aspirations of Japan in China, and having gathered vast experience of three continents, Britain, Europe and the United States, Gareth had accumulated a wealth of knowledge of international affairs.  After his visit to the Far East, he would have gained abundant experience, sufficient to apply for a position with any national paper in America or Europe, and to launch himself into his chosen career of journalism.  Unafraid of writing the truth, and with a desire to see fair play, Gareth, would not have been afraid to expose the crimes of corrupt politicians in his articles.  Had he lived, Gareth, by the power of the pen, would have fearlessly questioned the British Government’s policy of appeasement.  He was a strong advocate of world peace, and a keen supporter of the League of Nations. 


Gareth predictions of future disputes and impending hostility in the danger zones of the period were uncanny.  He predicted the advent of War with Germany, a country for which he has so much affection.  In such places as Czecho- Slovakia and Hawaii he foresaw the problems that later ensued.  Sadly his extensive knowledge and wisdom was lost with his death, and the memory of Gareth was airbrushed out of history until this Biography was written.  His short life’s story is pictured against the backdrop of the tumultuous world events occurring in the early 1930’s. 


“Mr. Gareth Jones” was as Lloyd George said, “A Man who knew too much”[2]


[1] In Search of News.

[2]  “The Man Who Knew Too Much” was the 1934 title of a popular Hitchcock spy film.


Margaret Siriol Colley

(Gareth Jones’ niece.)

Email: margaret 'at' colley.co.uk (for web spamming prevention purposes please use the usual '@' symbol instead of 'at')

Author of the Biography:

Gareth Jones: A Manchukuo Incident



Nigel Colley

(Gareth Jones’ great nephew.)

Email: webmaster@colley.co.uk

Website designer of