Almost two months after leaving for Crete for a walking holiday, Arthur Jones has been laid to rest in his hometown of Denbigh.
Hundreds of mourners lined through the town on Friday afternoon to pay their respects to the former soldier, who had been missing of nearly seven weeks after he failed to return home from the Greek island. He was found dead on a rural patch of land in the Chania area earlier this month.
Over 300 people packed out St Mary’s Church for Mr Jones’ service with many more listening outside via loudspeakers. His coffin had been carried in a sidecar, leading a procession of over 100 bikers from the Whistlestop Motorcycle Club in Rhuddlan. He was a enthusiastic motorcyclist through his years in the TA and as an instructor to more than 7,000 Army cadets.
His son, Jeff Jones, from Prestatyn, who spent much of this summer in Crete aiding the search, told the church congregation: “Everyone here has an Arthur story. When we were growing up they all seemed so far fetched but when you grow up you realise it wasn’t far fetched, it was just him. Whatever happened, he’ll have had a hell of time doing it. It was another great Arthur story. I’m just sorry I won’t get to hear him tell it.”
“He was Denbigh born and bred and proud of it. He devoted what time he could to Denbigh, it’s people and all who needed his help. But when he needed help, town, North Wales and people from all over the world rose to the challenge. Dad would have been so honoured and proud.”
A private burial for Mr Jones took place afterwards at the nearby St Marcella’s Church. His family have requested those wishing to pay tribute to make a donation to The Poppy Appeal or Help for Heroes in his memory.
An inquest into the death – opened by a coroner in Ruthin on Monday – will resume at a later date.