Home Guard Lance-Corporal
|Relatives||George Jones (Father) |
Mrs Fox (Wife)
|Affiliations||Home Guard |
Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes 
|First seen||The Man and the Hour|
|Last Seen||Never Too Old|
|Portrayed by||Clive Dunn (TV, 1971 film, Radio)|
Tom Courtenay (2016 film)
Kevin Eldon (The Lost Episodes)
|List of Characters|
- "The first thing to remember: There's no substitute for cold steel. They do not like it up 'em, they DON'T LIKE IT UP 'EM"
- ―Jack Jones
Jack Jones was the local Butcher of Walmington-on-Sea, and had served in four military campaigns—Mahdist War in the Sudan (1884–1885), The British Reconquest of Sudan (1896–1899), The Boer War (1899–1902) and the First World War (1914–1918). He later returned to his position as a Lance-Corporal in the Walmington-on-Sea Home Guard.
Jones was born in 1870 in Walmington-on-Sea, and he joined the army as a drummer boy in 1884 at the age of fourteen. 7 years later he formed part of a Guard of Honour for Queen Victoria when she opened the town bandstand in 1891.
Thereafter, he served under Lord Kitchener in the Sudan. Jones fondly recalls his time during the Battle of Omdurman in the Sudan and facing the "Fuzzy Wuzzies". In the desert his unit was ambushed and when he and Private Clarke were sent for help they were attacked and kidnapped by dervishes. Managing to escape with an unconscious Clarke he discovered that his comrade was having an affair with their commanding officer's wife. Because of this he stole Clarke's wallet and left him with a British relief column without saying goodbye.
Given his service medals he left the Sudan for South Africa in 1901 or 1902 to fight in the Second Boer War before being stationed in India for at least 7 years between 1902 and 1909.
As a Lance-Corporal in the First World War on Western Front, he was known as the Mad Bomber, due to his inclination to madly throw grenades. He was signed out of the War in 1916.
It was also noted that Jones once kept wicket in the rear of the great cricketer Ranjit Sinhji, who was an Indian gentleman and upstanding man until he whipped his bails off.
Back in Walmington he works as a butcher with his assistant the "boy Raymond".
At the outbreak of the Second World War, Jones was retired from the army and working as a butcher, but he was so keen to join the Home Guard that, despite his age (70), Captain Mainwaring instantly appointed him as the platoon's Lance Corporal. However, it is suggested that Jones's ability to provide off-the-ration meat may have had rather more to do with this decision than Jones's abilities which, given his advanced years, were declining somewhat—his vision, for example, was so poor that when signing up for duty, he missed the document and signed the table top instead!
As an aged veteran, he is extremely fond of bayonet warfare, and usually meets any queries about this with the assertion that "They don't like it up 'em!"
When his old comrade Private Clarke, joins the Walmington-on-Sea platoon he accuses Jones of leaving him to die in the desert. After his courage is doubted by the town and the platoon, Jones nobly makes sure that their old C.O. and his wife have died before vindicating himself with the true story of what happened in order to spare them unnecessary pain or scandal. After Jones reveals the truth, Clarke later flees without explanation, leaving Jones's honour and respect intact.
The platoon use Jones's delivery van as transport for their manoeuvres. Jones is the official driver (obviously, as the van is his own property) and is very proud of his van, often being reluctant to allow various modifications used for the platoon's activities. Instances when Mainwaring causes the van to get damaged are the very rare occasions when Jones becomes upset with the Captain, at one point threatening to blacklist Mainwaring from his sausage list, to which Mainwaring replied carefully "Steady, Jones." However, Mainwaring generally dismisses the matter insisting "There's a war on!" As well as keeping Mainwaring and Wilson buttered up with bribes of meat, Jones often does the same with various other townsfolk when needed.
On informal occasions, Jones is often accompanied by his love-interest, the busty middle-aged widow Mrs Fox who is also a regular customer at Jones' butcher shop. In the final episode, Jones and Mrs Fox get married (it is implied she married him for his supply of meat).
Jones is known for a number of eccentric traits, such as using long, rambling explanations and anecdotes whenever he wants to make a point (which could usually be summed up in a sentence anyway). He is also invariably one step behind the rest of the platoon in any drill manoeuvre, with Sergeant Wilson telling him many a time "Now, Jonesey. Try and keep up, there's a good fellow." This is apparently a trait he has had his whole military career as a fellow veteran remembered Jones by this trait. Only twice was Jones witnessed to be in step with the platoon, once after a whole years practice but quickly reverted to form, the next time was when the platoon as a whole took the extra second Jones always does to respond to make them look orderly. He often makes far-fetched suggestions for the platoon, such as advising that they chop off the German prisoners' trouser buttons, on the grounds that if they escaped, a group of German men walking through the town with their trousers around their ankles may cause people to "raise some inquiries". Every time, Jones's suggestions are soundly refuted by Mainwaring with a curt "I think you're wandering into the realms of fantasy, Jones." He however is notably brave eagerly volunteering for even the most suicidal of missions—one example is that during a platoon discussion when the subject of torture came up, he declared loudly and excitedly that the platoon should torture him to see what they were up against. In this instance he failed to calm down when grabbed by other members of the platoon, only returning to normal after being slapped by Frazer. He is also known for using odd turns of phrase such as saying "It would be more tasty for us to tell him", misusing the word tasteful; as well as the rather notorious declaration of "I would go through fire and brimstone and treacle for you, sir".
Despite his advanced years and physical failings, Jones is extremely excitable and active. He usually meets any situation where action or danger may be imminent by entering a near-hysterical state in which he runs around frantically shouting "Don't panic! DON'T PANIC!" at the top of his voice (usually at some inappropriate moment, such as when holding an armed landmine or hand grenade) until someone manages to calm him down to a state where he is useful. This is often not evidence of fear, however, but of extreme eagerness; a courageous man, Jones is always the first to volunteer for any activity (regardless of any potential danger), and is extremely keen when doing so (and is known to sulk if someone else is chosen for a change).
Jones is well remembered for his catchphrases "Don't panic!", "Permission to speak, sir?", and of course "They don't like it up 'em!"—a phrase which writer Jimmy Perry remembered an old campaigner using, during his own service in the Home Guard.
Jones appears to have reasonably good relationships with both Mainwaring and Wilson, whom he often bribes with meat when he wants his own way. Although Jones's over-keen and sometimes bungled efforts sometimes annoy Mainwaring, the Captain is nonetheless admiring of his ever-enthusiastic approach, and considers him one of his best men, often discussing matters with him and Wilson before addressing the rest of the platoon. His relationship with Mainwaring is also doubtlessly improved by Jones's tendency to flatter his superior officer. His main rivalries are with Frazer, and the Verger, whom he calls a troublemaker. He also has a dislike to his 88-year-old father, George Jones.
Jones has a habit of making inadvertently smutty remarks, such as asserting to Mainwaring that policemen hide behind bushes "when knocking people off", or referring to women who order meat from his butcher's shop as trying to "get a bit on the side". He is completely unaware of the mildly sexual nature of such comments, which often irritate and/or embarrass the others, particularly Mainwaring.
"They don't like it up 'em!"
"Permission to speak, sir?"
Jones is seen wearing his ribbon bars throughout the series which recognise his previous service in the British Army. They are as follows:
- 1. Egypt Medal (1882–1889)
- 2. Indian General Service Medal (1895–1902)
- 3. Queen's Sudan Medal (1897)
- 4. Queen's South African War Medal (1899–1902)
- 5. King's South African War Medal (1901–1902)
- 6. India General Service Medal (1909)
- 7. 1914 Star
- 8. British War Medal
- 9. Allied Victory Medal
- 10. Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (with post-1918 ribbon)
- 11. Khedive's Star (1882–1891)
- 12. Khedive's Sudan Medal (1897)
Assuming he stayed with the platoon until it was disbanded, his 3 years of Home Guard service would also make him eligible for the Defence Medal, worn between the Allied Victory Medal and the Army Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.