Felix Jones

Felix Jones (1813-1874) was a British Commander in the Indian Navy and an employee of the East India Company. At only fourteen, he joined the Bombay Marine and soon became involved in British surveying projects in the Middle East. He served as a midshipman on the RIMS Palinurus, a 444-ton survey vessel launched in 1807 and belonging to the Royal Indian Marine. During its mission, the ship surveyed the large tracts of the Red Sea littoral.

In the 1820s, Jones moved on to serve on the first British survey of the Persian Gulf. This survey was necessary because the Gulf’s waters were treacherous and British ships were reluctant to sail to its head for commercial purposes. The survey began in 1820 near Oman and gradually worked its way north. It was completed under Stafford Bettesworth Haines in 1829, and Jones was an essential surveyor on the last leg of the mission. Haines has won some infamy as the EIC officer that secured Aden for the British.

After some years of service, Jones returned to the Middle East in 1839 to survey the harbor of Kuwait. Having built up considerable knowledge and experience in the Middle East at this stage, Jones continued to serve the Indian Navy as a surveyor in the Middle East, retiring in 1862 as Political Agent in the Persian Gulf. Historians have argued that Jones, in this capacity, played a central role in planning the British Invasion of Persia in 1856-57.

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