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The Colonel C. Bear-Jones Incident[1]

Early Days
Colonel C. Bear-Jones
 1. It was while Jones was living at 53A Victoria Road that Chris discovered that Jones’s teddy bear was called Colonel C. Bear-Jones,[2] and became very amused by this to the point of making fun about it—to Jones’s infuriation.
 Chris found it written somewhere. Jones had dossiers and things like that; it was written in something that Chris was not supposed to look at. But see it Chris did, and asked Jones who the heck “Colonel C. Bear-Jones” was.
 It is uncertain how much Jones told Chris at this point,
[3] but he forbade Chris to let it go any further, and told him that it was top secret information that he’d just imparted.
 [1] Apart from talking (and laughing) about The Colonel C. Bear-Jones Incident around the time it happened, Chris and I first discussed the incident in a taped conversation in March 1977. We had a subsequent discussion, not taped, on 17 December 1980. And Chris left a comment on 31 May 2009 on my post Davelyshome.
 [2] I already knew of the existence of Colonel C. Bear-Jones—Curly Bear-Jones—because of “The Game” I used to play with Jones; see My friendship with David Jones. In this Game Colonel C. Bear-Jones was quite high up in the AHAF (the Animals House Air Force). And there was Brumas Bear-Jones as well, who was even higher than Curly. And Jones was the top dog, or “top bear”, so to speak.
 [3] It is uncertain how much Jones told Chris at this point: Note from 17 December 1980:
Once Chris had asked Jones about Colonel C. Bear-Jones, Jones probably started to explain seriously to Chris about him. But Chris started to be very amused with the whole thing and started to laugh, so Jones, angered, strictly warned him never to mention the name of Colonel C. Bear-Jones again.

1979 photo
 2. While he was still at 53A, Jones used to walk to Thornton Station of a morning in order to catch the S3 bus, which would take him to Fleetwood Grammar School. Around the same time, there would also be a group of lads who were waiting there for the S2[4] which would take them to Baines’ Grammar School in Poulton-le-Fylde.
 Chris would board the S2 at Lime Grove, and he used to see Jones sometimes, waiting at the station.
[5] Some of the more unruly members of the Baines’ contingent had already noticed that Jones was somewhat “different from other boys of his age” and had started baiting him and having fun at his expense.
 Chris got talking to one or two of the Baines’ contingent on the bus. One of them was a lad called Terry Hume, who lived down Alexandra Road; he talked about Jones, and about “this character” coming to the station every morning. And Chris let it be known to them that he knew Jones. This aroused their interest, of course, and it was then that he revealed to them that Jones had a teddy bear which he called Colonel C. Bear-Jones. And of course this caused a lot of hilarity.
 It’s not very hard to imagine what happened next! When Jones arrived at the station after that, he would be greeted with shouts of “Hi there, Colonel C. Bear!” and “Morning, Colonel C. Bear!”
 [4] The S2: Note from 17 December 1980:
There were three S2’s in the morning which departed from Thornton Station at about 8.20 a.m.
 [5] He used to see Jones sometimes, waiting at the station: Note from 17 December 1980:
The S3 for Fleetwood usually departed just before the S2’s arrived. But Chris was on the S2 one morning when it arrived before the S3, and he saw Jones standing at Thornton Station. There were some Fleetwood Grammar School girls at the station who got on the S3 there, and a lot of kids from Baines’ Grammar School. These three or four girls stood in the square opening in the building, which formed the entrance to the railway station, apart from the Baines’ “mob” which was milling around and advancing towards the S2. And Jones stood apart on the path which skirted the station building down a slight gradient toward Victoria Road. The mob would tend to be a bit rowdy, and that is why the girls stood apart. Girls were a bit of a novelty to the pupils of the all-boys Baines’ school. And Jones stood apart because he would otherwise be suitable “wrecking material” for them.

The “sqaure opening in the building” (actually, a glass-roofed shelter) can just be seen above the bus in this late 1950’s photo. “The path which skirted the station building down a slight gradient toward Victoria Road” is marked by what appears to be a white fence.
 [6] When Jones arrived at the station after that, he would be greeted with shouts of “Hi there, Colonel C. Bear!” and “Morning, Colonel C. Bear!”: Note from 17 December 1980:
Chris wasn’t at Thornton Station when the rumpus about Colonel C. Bear-Jones occurred. By the time his bus arrived at Thornton Station Jones’s bus would usually have left; the S3 often used to pass Lime Grove while Chris was waiting there for the S2. (He used originally to get on the S2 bus at Four Lane Ends, though later he would walk up as far as Lime Grove bus stop to wait for the bus.)
 3. Jones, of course, was livid, and realised immediately who the source of their information most likely was. He, therefore, confronted Chris with it at the next available opportunity. Chris decided to confess and mumbled something about it having “just slipped out while I wasn’t really thinking”.
 Jones wasn’t impressed; he forbade Chris to ever utter the words “Colonel C. Bear-Jones” in his presence again.
 Chris agreed to this initially, but there were occasions subsequently when, out of devilment, he tried to tease Jones with the forbidden words.
 Jones would have none of it and, after only a couple of syllables, he would start to growl menacingly until Chris stopped!
 Chris heard from Jones that he had made an official complaint at school about this rumpus at Thornton Station in the morning; and Jones reported that Mrs. Hackett, the Senior Mistress at Fleetwood Grammar School, was going to write to Baines’ School, to the headmaster, to complain about this.
 The mockery of Jones at Thornton Station probably just “died a natural death” after this.

Alan Fairhurst
 4. When Jones moved to Park Road, around August 1963, he stopped getting the bus at Thornton Station; he got it at the Lime Grove bus stop instead, on the opposite side of Victoria Road from where Chris waited for the S2. Chris would often see Jones emerging from Park Road for his bus.
 Chris’s friend Alan Fairhurst used to be amused by Jones, but secretly, never mocking Jones to his face. (This was when Fairhurst lived near Chris in Ascot Road.)
 He can be imagined at lunch-time: he and a few other kids at Baines’ Grammar School are hanging around; and Fairhurst keeps the conversation going by talking about Jones:
 “He bounces up to the bus stop, wearing his big red Labour rosette.

A Labour rosette in the 2000’s
 “He waits.
 “The bus appears, this great red Ribble bus.
 “Jones sticks his hand out and hails the bus.
 “The bus stops at Lime Grove JUST FOR HIM.
 “This makes him feel very important. You see that look of satisfaction on his face.
 “The bus stops JUST FOR HIM.”
 By this time the kids are rolling about with laughter, some knowing Jones by sight and others just by repute.
 [7] The reference to a rosette probably indicates a date for the incident shortly before the General Election of 15 October 1964, although he may conceivably have worn it for a local election at some other time. His wearing a red Labour rosette also features in the story David Charles Woodhead and David Charles Jones.

I got this e-mail from Chris:

From: Chris
Sent: 06 June 2009 14:34
To: John E Cooper
Subject: Re: Colonel C. Bear-Jones

Brilliant, thanks for that! It also shows just how much I'd forgotten! I'd forgotten that we'd discussed the Col. C. Bear-Jones incident back in 1980, and also that it was with Terry Hume that I'd had the initial conversation on the bus which triggered it off. But you're right, it was. That really was an amazing time, and, when I read these stories, I still roll about laughing!
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