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Information from Jean Thomson (nee Douglas-Jones)
Ian Douglas-Jones
Rector of Rushden 1954

Ian and with Ina on their wedding day

On June 17 1914 Ian was born to Capt. Edwyne Douglas-Jones and his wife Sina Gertrude Pott (Elliot) at ordnance Villa Officer Quarters, Sheerness, Kent. He was the second of their three sons. During the 1914-18 war his family lived in a room in Southsea and later in a house in Twyford, Winchester. After the war, his father was posted to Malta and they lived in ‘Villa Emmanuel’, Silema, on the harbour front.

At the age of 7 he started at St. Clare School, Walmer, Kent with his older brother Gordon. His parents returned to Malta and the boys spent their holidays with their grandmother and Aunt Jean at Southsea. In Sept 1928 he went to St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate and in 1932 went to Trinity Hall Cambridge and studied Natural Science.

From 1935-6 he went to Wycliffe Hall Theological College and trained to be a priest. Completing the course in 1936, he was only 22 years old and had to be 23 to be ordained. So he went to teach in the English Mission College in Cairo run by the Church Ministry to the Jews for a year returning via a route in 1937 which took him by the Sea of Galilee, Damascus, Baalbec, Beirut, Izmir, Athens, Constantinople and home. Later that year he took the Bishop of London’s ordination examination, went on the retreat at Fulham Palace and then was ordained at St. Paul’s Cathedral on October 3 1937. 

Ian wrote: ‘After a rather sheltered early life - school, university, theological college, curacies – I was plunged into a new experience at the deep end and the change was catastrophic. I have always regarded that war-time experience as the most formative years of my life.’

He spent 18 months in Iraq at three RAF stations; Habbanya, Mosul and Basra. Station Officers were expected to give every facility for men to attend worship and allow the Padre to go amongst the men and meet them while at work. Hospital visiting was also a priority, supporting men with problems at home and writing a letter home when a man died.

On 15 April 1942 Ian in his War Diary writes of a visit to Babylon: ‘Started out at 7.00 with 21 fellows for Babylon. After ½ an hours delay at Felligah gate we made good way reaching Babylon at noon. Had lunch under palm trees as usual and then conducted them around. It was very hot and exhausting with the sun blazing down but we got round all right and started home about 3.30. On the way back first one of the cars petered out having got a carburetter block which after clearing was all right. Then about ½ hour from Baghdad at the worst dusty portion of the road we ran into an annoying dust blizzard. It approached us like a huge yellow cloud sweeping all before it travelling at the rate of 60-80mph. When it struck us it was so thick we could not even see the bonnet of the car so we just had to stop, cover our eyes and nose, and wait for it blow over. It only lasted about 5-10 minutes being folllowed by rain which soon settled the dust, a very interesting experience.’

‘The Assistant Chaplain-in-Chief sent me in June 1944 to take over the Senior Chaplaincy of Desert Air Force which partnered the 8th Army from Alamein to the Alps. It was a force of fighter aircraft and there were 18 chaplains to be supervised and cared for. I much enjoyed close fellowship with godly men of various churchmanship and having prayer with them for God’s blessing on their ministry when I visited them.’ He arranged 2 retreats for them; ‘One at Assisi, a quiet place where the spirit of St. Francis still seems to linger, and the other at a beautiful spot in the Dolomite mountains.’ Then in May 1945 he returned: ‘I travelled home in the nose of a Lancatser bomber looking through the perspex windows as Europe passed underneath.’

In 1946 Ian was offered St. John’s with Christ Church, Penge, where he built up the church’s life after the war. A new east window was put in for the Centenary service. Services for George VI’s funeral and Queen Elizabeth’s coronation were organised.

Ian married Ina at St. Jude’s church, Southsea on 20 Jan 1951. His parents had introduced him to Ina as they had become friends with Ina’s parents in Worthing.

In 1954 Ian became Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Rushden which included care of the people on Court Estate on its outskirts and the church at Newton Bromswold. They already had two daughters, and two more were born at Rushden. Ian and Ina were parents in the first generation who didn’t employ servants.

In May 1963 Ian became Vicar of Christ Church, Fulwood, Sheffield. St Luke’s Church, Lodgemoor was built under Ian’s direction. In 1965 he was chaplain to the Master Cutler and then the year following chaplain to the Lord Mayor. In the grave yard is a gravestone marking the place where Ian’s parents, Sina and Edwyne are buried.

Then came the move to Mayfield, near Ashbourne. ‘The Parish of Mayfield fulfilled my life-long desire for the ministry of a country parson,’ Ian wrote, ‘and here I spent 11 of the happiest years of my life before retirement.’

Ina wrote of Mayfield; ‘A very happy work for Ian in this large village of three hamlets. Walking around the parish made visiting a pleasure and his love and friendship with his people blossomed.’

In 1979 Ian retired and he and Ina moved to Malvern where they enjoyed walking and attending Malvern Priory. In 1992 they made a final move to Wolvercote near Oxford to live opposite daughter Cherry. Ian died 29 Feb 2000 and Ina died 13 March 2016.

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