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Memorial trust launches search for descendants of Romford football sensation, 100 years after his death

PUBLISHED: 09:11 11 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:52 12 January 2017

Arthur Edwin Jones, known by his fans as

Arthur Edwin Jones, known by his fans as "Diddy". Picture: Romford Football Club Volume 1 by John Hayley and Terry Felton

Romford Football Club Volume 1 book by John Hayley and Terry Felton

An extraordinary search has begun to trace relatives of a football legend 100 years after his death, so his name can be added to a First World War memorial.

Arthur Edwin Jones (centre) with the Romford FC team in 1903-1904. Picture:  Romford Football Club Volume 1 by John Hayley and Terry Felton Arthur Edwin Jones (centre) with the Romford FC team in 1903-1904. Picture: Romford Football Club Volume 1 by John Hayley and Terry Felton

“Described as “one of the most prominent footballers in the county” by the Essex Times, Arthur Edwin Jones – known by the fans as “Diddy” – was injured on the battlefields of northern France on August 27, 1917.

He died of his wounds two days later at the age of 37.

Despite his strong football abilities – he is believed to have scored 365 recorded goals during his career, including 213 for Romford FC – Mr Jones remained an amateur all his life.

Before joining the army, Mr Jones was a Pc in the Romford Division of the Essex Special Constabulary, according to an obituary in the Essex Times.

Arthur Edwin Jones's grave in the Dozinghem Cemetery in Belgium. Picture: britishwargraves.co.uk Arthur Edwin Jones's grave in the Dozinghem Cemetery in Belgium. Picture: britishwargraves.co.uk

The Essex Police Memorial Trust, which commemorates officers who died during the world wars and protects the graves of officers killed on duty, is now seeking to confirm that Mr Jones was an Essex police officer.

This would allow the trust to install a plaque with his name beside the First World War memorial at Essex Police’s headquarters in Chelmsford.

Until 1965, the area around Romford was covered by Essex Police before being taken over by the Met.

Treasurer of the trust Fred Feather told the Recorder: “What we need is someone whose own relatives would have known him to confirm he was a constable for Essex Police.”

Arthur Edwin Jones is buried in the Dozinghem Cemetery in Belgium. Picture: britishwargraves.co.uk Arthur Edwin Jones is buried in the Dozinghem Cemetery in Belgium. Picture: britishwargraves.co.uk

Made a corporal during the war, Mr Jones was buried in Dozinghem Military Cemetery in Belgium.

Born in 1880, the sportsman lived all his life in Victoria Road, Romford.

Research by Terry Felton, who wrote the three volumes of the history of the Romford FC with John Hayley, shows Mr Jones joined the junior football club Romford Excelsior in 1892 with his brother Evan.

Five years later, aged 17, he was signed up by Romford FC.

Mr Jones went on to play for the Essex county team, Romford, St Andrews, Ilford FC, Mawney institute, Romford Thursday FC and twice for Luton.

If you have any information about him, you can call Mr Feather on 01702 522992 or email fred@feather1.demon.co.uk.

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