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Born in Barry in 1905, Jones graduated from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, in 1926 with a first class degree in French. In 1929 he graduated from Trinity College, Cambridge, with a first class honours degree in French, German, and Russian.
In January 1930 he began work as foreign affairs adviser to former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George and travelled to Germany, meeting Hitler and Goebbels. Then in the summer of 1931 he toured the Soviet Union with HJ Heinz II of the food company dynasty, producing a diary which probably contains the first usage of the word “starve” in relation to the collectivisation of Soviet agriculture.
In 1932 Jones returned to work for Lloyd George, helping him write his memoirs of World War I. In March 1933 he travelled to Russia and Ukraine. On his return he issued an article that was published by newspapers across the English-speaking world. Its best-known passage read: “I walked along through villages and 12 collective farms. Everywhere was the cry, ‘There is no bread. We are dying’.”
In late 1934 Jones left Britain on a round-the-world fact-finding tour.
Travelling with a German journalist in Japanese-occupied China, Jones and his companion were captured by bandits.
The German journalist was released after two days, but 16 days later the bandits shot Jones on the eve of his 30th birthday.
There were strong suspicions that Jones’ murder was arranged by the Soviets as revenge for the embarrassment he had caused them with the famine report.