John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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“A tin of Jetex and a tin of fuse”

Early Days

 1. At Fleetwood Grammar School, David Rotheram was known as “Gob”, especially by his former fellow-pupils from Beach Road Primary School, Cleveleys. And “Gob” was the name my Mum used for him, so that’s how I must have referred to him, when talking about him. I’m not sure, though, what I called him to his face: perhaps, if I wanted to speak to him, I would just wait till he was facing me.

“Gob”, school photos, 1962 and 1965
“A tin of Jetex and a tin of fuse”
 2. Gob introduced me to the idea of building model kits (aircraft, ships, etc.) and then setting them on fire and imagining a battle or ambush taking place.

 3. One time, for the above purpose, he instructed me to go to Latus’s, a sports, hobby, toy and model shop in Lord Street, Fleetwood, for “a tin of Jetex
[1] and a tin of fuse”, before coming to his house in Cleveleys. Why he would want to use model-aircraft solid fuel, rather than just set the item on fire, I don’t remember. Perhaps he wanted to create some explosive effects.
[1] The Jetex engine was a type of solid-fuel rocket engine for use in model aircraft. “A tin of Jetex”, therefore, was a container of fuel pellets, and “a tin of fuse” one containing a length of ignition wick.
 4. I was a bit apprehensive about doing what he told me, because I thought, Surely it should be “fuses”, not “fuse”. So I asked him, “What is it?”
 Gob repeated it, “A tin of Jetex and a tin of fuse”.
 I didn’t feel much better, but nevertheless I did as he told me.

(1950’s map taken from Lancashire County Council Maps and Related Information Online)
 5. I went to Fleetwood on my bike. This was the first time that I had done this, and I remember finding the straight bit of road after Springfield Terrace a bit monotonous.
 I nervously approached the counter at Latus’s and repeated the request for “a tin of Jetex and a tin of fuse, please”, and to my amazement was delivered the goods with no fuss at all. No blank or querying looks. Just a perfect understanding of what I was referring to. These two items were sickeningly expensive, though.

 6. I cycled to Gob’s. I have impression of going down Fleetwood Road and turning right into the B5409, Rossall Lane, rather than going direct along the A587. Why I didn’t bear right at the West View roundabout into the A587 instead of bearing left and continuing along the A585, I don’t know. Perhaps I cycled from Latus’s along back roads, and joined the A585 at the tramway crossing at “Broadwaters”.
 I think we did the burning on Gob’s back lawn.

 7. Later, I got into trouble off my Dad for wasting so much money.
 “What did you do with it?” he asked.
 Lamely, I replied, “Burnt it.”
 “What!” he demanded, incredulously.
 And so on.

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