Published by Seren
Dear Mona, Letters from a Conscientious Objector are the words of 20 year old working class Geordie Len Jones to his mentor and would-be partner Mona Lovell. They worked in the County Durham library service, and Mona, a Quaker, was educating Len in the arts and in social equality. Their correspondence begin when Len, as a conscientious objector, was forced to work in forestry during the war. With other like-minded people – including future MP Bill Hamilton, and the poet James Kirkup – Len had many opportunities to develop his thinking and his character.
These letters are a fascinating and inadvertently detailed first-hand account of how Len changed. Eventually he decided on a more active role in the fight against fascism and became a non-arms bearing medic. He was parachuted into northern Europe and took part in the Ardennes and German campaigns, and in the opening of the Belsen concentration camp. After the war he was posted to Palestine, where he became involved in the issues around the establishment of Israel. Here, much to Mona’s dismay, he met and married Judith Grossman, with whom he returned to Britain to set up as an artist.
In Dear Mona Jones records in his own words the story of the Home Front, of the European campaign following D Day and of the tensions in Palestine, still present today. It is a remarkable, immediate account: personal, intimate and yet also history, played out before his eyes.