War hero Rhydwen Jones’ family shop

Link to French translationWar hero John Rhydwen Jones’ family shop

Photo of Rhydwen Jones Davies shopRhydwen Jones & Davies was the premiere furniture and furnishing store in Llandudno (pictured right). Established in 1851, the business also had stores in Colwyn Bay and Rhyl.

Alfred John Rhydwen Jones (known as John) was the only son of the family business’ last owner, Walter Rhydwen Jones, and his wife Millicent. They lived at Cranleigh, Great Ormes Road, West Shore. They had two daughters, Margaret and Gwyneth.

John (pictured below) was educated at Rhos-on-Sea College, Ratcliffe College, Leicestershire, and La Maison de Melle, a finishing school in Belgium. He served his apprenticeship in the furniture trade with Heals of Tottenham Court Road, London, playing rugby for London Welsh at this time. He became a junior salesman with Ray & Miles of Liverpool.

Photo of John Rhydwen JonesHe joined the Territorials and was mobilised on August 1939. After officer training, he left Britain for North Africa in December 1942. His work with the French earned him France's ‘Croix de Guerre avec Palme’ in 1943.

He moved on to Italy, where he saved the lives of two of his men by digging them an air hole in a building, while under German shelling. In the advance from Rome to Florence, he was acting as Forward Observation Officer with a company of Indian infantry when his quick mind and enduring courage were displayed. Despite splinter injuries, he remained at his post. He was killed during a counter-attack on 14 October near company headquarters.

In April 1945 John was posthumously awarded the Military Cross, which his father collected from Buckingham Palace. You can read his MC citation and other details on our page in his memory.

Walter eventually sold the business, having nobody in the family to take over. It continued to trade as Rhydwen Jones & Davies until acquired by UK furniture chain Courts in the early 1990s. Today the Llandudno shop is occupied by retailer UC Beds.

With thanks to John Lawson-Reay, of the Llandudno & Colwyn Bay History Society, and Adrian Hughes, of the Home Front museum

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