Mary and John's son Gilbert Starkey Jones (right), known as Gil, was born in Parkgate on 10 October 1918. Gil was almost three years old when, within the space of weeks, the excitement of the arrival of his baby sister was followed by the trauma of losing his mother. One of his father's sisters initially moved in to look after the children but then she took them with her to live with several of her sisters in Llanfair Caereinion. Having had the time to adjust to all these changes, in 1925 Gil was again uprooted to return to his father who had remarried and simulateously he was parted from his four year old sister who was to be brought up elsewhere. All this happened within the first seven years of Gil's life and to compound matters I was told that his childhood with his father and step-mother in Neston was not a happy one. It is hardly surprising that later in life Gil was reluctant to talk about his early years. Apart from being taken to visit one of the family homes in Birkenhead and to visit an "Uncle Harry" in hospital Gil remembered nothing about his mother's side of the family.
Back at Parkgate Gil attended Hoylake School and then Wirral Grammar School. In 1935, he went to work for Coastlines, a shipping company in Liverpool before volunteering to join the Royal Artillery in 1938 and being posted to Orkney. He served in various theatres of war from the UK to Burma and was involved in the D Day landings, in charge of one of the DUKWS; these were the custom-made amphibious vehicles that were half boat and half truck so that they could run on land and water, delivering supplies from ships to beaches. Later he captained a tank which he drove through Caen. >>