© Wales News Service
Ron Jones, of Bassaleg, South Wales, planned to stop selling poppies for The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal believing he was getting too old. However, after his 100th birthday in April, he decided to keep selling poppies as long as he would be able to. Jones has been selling poppies for 30 years. Before then he was a prisoner of war in the deadliest world war in history.
Ron Jones was a prisoner of war in the Nazi death camp, Auschwitz, while serving in the 1st Battalion of the Welsh Regiment. Jones was captured in 1943 while fighting in the Middle East and after 9 months in Italy, was transferred to a forced labor camp in the Auschwitz complex. He worked six days a week in a factory and was permitted to play football with his fellow soldiers on Sundays.
After a couple of years, Jones was forced to participate a death march of prisoners across Europe in 1945. “It was bitterly cold, snow of course, and they put us in barns at night time. I walked [for] 17 weeks – I walked about 700 or 800 miles,” he said. After surviving the march, Jones later opened up his flower business.
Jones initially planned to retire in 2015, but continued on for another 12 months. He gained fame by sharing his story 20 years ago. Most recently, a women bought a poppy from him, and made a donation to his business. A film crew to spend eight years to create a movie called “The Poppy Seller”. When asked about the movie, Jones replied, “I never told anybody, I never made a fuss of it,”. Ron Jones had not taken much notice of the film crew following him. The film maker, Stephen Horton, said Mr. Jones’ story was “inspirational”.