Throwback Thursday: Bobby Jones' role in D-Day

The Scoop

At 40 years of age, Bobby Jones was a golfing legend, and could have sat out the war – but instead he took to the beaches of Normandy...

The Background

Born in Atlanta, Georgia, the young Robert Tyre Jones Jr was a sickly child and golf was prescribed to strengthen him.

Jones won his first competition aged just six, and rose through the golfing ranks to dominate the 1920s.

Grantland Rice once wrote Jones had “the face of an angel and the temper of a timber wolf”.

He retired from competitive golf the year he won his career Grand Slam, aged just 28, saying the world of competitive golf was “like a cage”.

In 1934 another landmark achievement was realised – the creation of Augusta National and the Masters.

The Scene

At 40 years of age, Bobby Jones was a golfing legend, and could have sat out the war – choosing to undertake morale-boosting tours of the US.

Instead, Jones all but forced the commanding officer of his Army Reserve group to allow him to rejoin active service.

“I don’t want to be a hoopty-da officer of some camp,” he said in 1942. By the following year he was promoted to the rank of major, and on June 7, 1944 he led his infantry unit on to the beaches at Normandy.

The Moment

Augusta had been turned over to the army to raise cattle, but Jones refused the easy life of playing exhibition golf to raise funds for the war effort.

He served with the 84th Fighter Wing in England, but then his unit was transferred to infantry, and landed on the Normandy beach on D-Day+1.

For two days he was under intense enemy fire, witnessing unspeakable horrors. But like so many veterans, Jones took his experiences to the grave.

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