Corsham can proudly boast an actor of world renown with one of its Victorian sons, Felix Edward Aylmer Jones, born in Alexander House, Corsham on 21st February 1889. He was the second child in the family of five boys and one girl, fathered by Major, later Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Edward Aylmer Jones of the Royal Engineers. The family are also believed to have once lived at no.7 High St.
Educated at Oxford he decided to join the stage, much to his parent’s displeasure.
Whilst he proceeded to enjoy the splendid training of theatrical experiences, World War 1914-18 interrupted his advancement. Felix joined the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. At the cessation of hostilities – November 1918, Aylmer hastened back to the stage and his wife.
He married Cecily Minnie Jane, the actress daughter of Robert Byrne, managing director of Leyland, Birmingham, during the war.
During the following years Aylmer was engaged in many plays, particularly by Bernard Shaw, whom he met early in his career, appearing in three different parts in ‘St Joan’ alone.
His wife Cecily gave him a daughter and two sons whilst he continued his stage work both here and in New York. In addition to his Shakespearean successes, he was also acclaimed for his character acting ain parts potraying members of the professions of law and diplomacy, but ultimately he preferred the medium of film.
He spent some forty years working in film, whilst still enjoying occasional stage appearances. Aylmer felt that the film actor, under the close-up of the cameras critical eye, called for a greater skill than anything required on the stage.
An outstanding President of the ‘British Actors Equity Association’ from 1949 –1969, it was in 1959 that he was awarded the OBE for his services to the stage.
His greatest honour was the knighthood bestowed upon him in 1965, as Sir Felix Aylmer OBE.
Living near Cobham Surrey. His retirement was forced by a stroke. His wife had died in 1956. He died at Pryford, Surrey on 2nd December 1979.