Born in Buxton in Derbyshire and educated at King's School, Macclesfield, Jones spent the early part of his life as a manager in a Manchester textile factory. He joined the Royal Air Force reserve in 1940 and was then posted to Bletchley Park. From April 1943, Jones was the head of Hut 3, which was responsible for intelligence on the Wehrmacht and Luftwaffe.
After the War he went to Washington D.C. as representative of British Signals Intelligence. He was made Deputy Director of GCHQ in 1950 and was the Director of GCHQ from April 1952 until 1960. He received a knighthood in 1957.
In retirement he became a Non-Executive Director of Simon Engineering.