Douglas James Jones
- Born: 21 Apr 1918
- Marriage (1): Dulcie Audrey Collins on 30 Nov 1940 in Canterbury, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- Died: 31 Jul 2005, Laurieton, New South Wales, Australia at age 87
Doug developed an affinity for his father's business, Hawxwell and Jones, at a very young age, spending time before and after school at the Company's premises with his father. In the afternoons, after completing his schoolwork he would wander around the garage and had a pretty good idea about what was going on. From an early age he felt that he would like to run the business one day.
After completing school in 1934 he served his apprenticeship as a motor engineer in the workshop at Hawxwell and Jones, and continued working there after completing his apprenticeship. However, his career with the Company was interrupted by the onset of World War 2.
Doug Jones enlisted in the A.I.F. on the 5th June 1940 at Paddington in Sydney. His Service Number was NX 25226. He was a single Mechanic, 22 years of age, and still living with his parents at 49 Seymour St, Croydon Park in Sydney. His religion was recorded as Roman Catholic. Three months after enlisting, he married Dulcie Audrey Collins.
Doug served in the A.I.F. from the 5th June 1940 to the 16th October 1945. He was attached to the newly-formed 1st Australian Corps Troops Supply Column in the 6th Division Ammunition Company. By the end of December their training was completed and they set sail on the Queen Mary, the first stage of a long journey that would see them end up at Camp Hill 69 - their base camp in what was then Palestine. From April 1941 to March 1942 he was stationed in the Middle East, primarily in modern day Syria where the Unit was involved in the successful advance into Syria during June & July of 1941. At that time Syria was a French Territory held by the Vichy French forces.
Japan's entry into the war at the end of 1941 saw his Unit recalled to Australia to face the more imminent threat to Australia itself from the rapidly advancing Japanese forces in the Pacific. They returned to their base near Brisbane in Queensland in March 1942. In July of 1942 Doug was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
This period back home provided a treasured opportunity for Doug and Dulcie to have some time together. He had gone off to the Middle East not long after their marriage. It was during his sojourn in Brisbane that their first child, James Douglas, was conceived and born.
Just three months after James' birth Doug's Unit was sent to New Guinea where he was to serve from November 1943 until September 1945. As a qualified mechanic he was assigned to the 2/34th Australian General Transport Company and placed in charge of their workshop. Doug spent a lot of his time at Madang, and then in the Aitape and Wewak campaign on the northern coast of New Guinea. Aitape and Wewak had been captured by the Japanese in 1942, and Wewak had became their largest base in New Guinea. Aitape was recaptured by the Americans in April of 1944. Australian forces were brought in to play a largely defensive role at Aitape, freeing up the American troops to move on to the Phillipines, their next objective.
Doug recalled his time there quite vividly. He had 36 men under him at Aitape. When the Australians arrived the Americans were in the process of dumping tonnes of equipment into the sea, which was their policy at the time if they couldnt take it with them, rather than leave it behind and potentially fall into enemy hands. Doug was horrified to see all sorts of gear vastly superior to that being used by Australian troops about to be disposed of in this way, including brand new jeeps and a Machinery Wagon in his own depot that he could have desperately used in the workshop. The jeeps being used by the Australians were "clapped out" after months of hard work in the inhospitable New Guinea jungles. Doug wanted those jeeps and that flash machinery wagon.
In his time in New Guinea Doug had rarely had an Officer overseeing him. A few had come and gone, some didnt last long before they contracted malaria and had to be repatriated, others were reassigned to other units. But Doug continued to recieve the Officer's regular "survival packs" of a couple of bottles of scotch whiskey and gin which were despatched by the Army to all Officers. He had a bit of a stash when he saw the American equipment being disposed of. At that time a consignment of 6 jeeps and the machinery wagon as well as some truck engines and parts were at the supply depot being managed by Doug. They were all destined for the sea.
An American serviceman came by to check on the gear and Doug had a bit of a chat and shared some hospitality. As he put it, "I knew this cove slightly and I shared a bottle of gin with him".
Doug asked "What are you going to do with all that gear over there?"
"It's going into the sea"
"It's a pity you couldnt give them to us they're brand new"
"Cant do it unfortunately, it would have to go under the Lend Lease regs"
The Lend Lease regs required that if the Americans handed equipment over to the Australian Army, the Army had to pay for it. Unfortunately Doug didnt have an officer or anyone authorised to do such a transaction, and he doubted anyone in New Guinea would anyhow. Doug foraged around and revealed his stash of Officers grog to the "Yank".
"Look, how about if I gave you these few bottles of whiskey and couple of bottles of gin and you take my old jeeps and tip them into the sea?"
The American looked longingly at the booze.. the Americans had a "dry" camp... alcohol was not available.
"But you'd have to paint over all the signs and markings...."
"Yeah, I know that. Why dont you take a walk, go do some jobs and come back for your jeeps later?"
"Well, I do have a few things to do...."
After the Yank had left Doug collared all the lads from the workshop and re-sprayed all of the jeeps. The Yank got his booze, and six clapped out jeeps to dump into the sea and Doug had six brand new jeeps, a machinery wagon and a few new truck engines and assorted other bits and pieces. A good day's work.
Supply to the camp was sporadic and at times non-existent. He remembers his team spending three months living on biscuits and apricot jam. If they were lucky they got herrings in tomato sauce and sometimes bully beef, which he described as "shocking stuff". Very occasionally the cook would do a trade with the Americans and get hold of some spam which he could turn into a decent meal. But as he described it, this was not as bad as some others experienced in New Guinea.
In November of 1944 the Australian commanders decided to modify their defensive stance at Aitape and to move on Wewak to destroy the remnants of the Japanese army in New Guinea. The successful campaign saw Wewak fall to Australian forces on the 10th May 1945. This is where Doug spent the last few months of his New Guinea service. The War officially ended in August and Doug was sent home from Wewak on the 28th September 1945. He had been in New Guinea for almost two years. He was discharged from the AIF on the 16th November 1945.
After his return to Sydney Doug had a disagreement with his father about his return to Hawxwell and Jones, by now quite a different business to what it was when he had gone to War. His father wanted him to work under Alan Regan, his partner, but Doug felt that he was Regan's equal in terms of qualifications and skills and refused to work there. Instead he went and got a job at another workshop, Watts Garage in Parramatta Road Concord.
Whilst there Doug was repairing a Taxi and got talking with the driver who said that he earned 25 pounds per week. Doug was earning half that much. He'd also suffered a few bouts of malaria after his time in New Guinea and his doctor was suggesting he get a job in the open air. He was inspired to get his taxi licence, which he did, and got his plates in a ballot for returned servicemen. On the 30th November 1950 he started driving his own independently owend taxi, which he painted black with an orange roof. Two years later he joined up with a fledgling new taxi company, RSL cabs.
During his time with RSL cabs they took over a garage to service their cabs. Doug was to later voice his concerns about the Management of the workshop which was the responsibility of the Secretary of the Company at that time. As a result of that a review was conducted and some improper activity and irregularities in the books identified which resulted in the Secretary being removed from office. Doug was appointed Secretary and Manager of the Garage. Within six months he had overseen a considerable turnaround in the performance of RSL cabs and the Garage as Secretary.
However, it was at this time that his father, James, had become seriously ill and Doug left RSL Cabs to take over his father's management obligations at Hawxwell and Jones. After his father died in 1954 his shares in Hawxwell and Jones were divided between his four children and Doug took over the Management of the business formally.
The business continued successfully for many more years with Doug buying out his father's former partner, Alan Regan, and his brother John (Jack) to become the major shareholder as well as the Manager. He continue to run the business until retiring in the 1980's.
Douglas married Dulcie Audrey Collins, daughter of Henry Gilbert Collins and Rosadell Tymmons, on 30 Nov 1940 in Canterbury, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. (Dulcie Audrey Collins was born on 20 Apr 1918 and died on 30 Jul 2008 in New South Wales, Australia.)