James M Spence

20James M Spence, or better know to most as Jimmy or 'Faither' was a Lieutenant in the 51st - famous for his part in creating "BB Capers" in the early 1960's with Ross Macrae and the antics at annual camps.

Wife and part of the double act "Auntie" Cathy was forever a great support to Jimmy and let's not forget the pancakes, home baking and trifle in basin at camp...


If you owned a TV in Bonnyrigg it probably came from this shop James M Spence  at Bonnyrigg Toll !



The infamous "mouthie" class on a friday night - give any boy from that era a mouth organ and within 30 seconds - I guarantee a near note perfect version of Rowan Tree will be heard!

A remarkable man in BB who left a real mark on the lives of many boys and officers who were members of the 51st.


I recently came accross a remarkable War story on the BBC Website, I got in touch with  Jimmy's Grandson, Alan Spence who kindly gave me a copy of his extraordinary account of his time in the second world war, where Mr Spence shared his experience in 1939-40 of the events  in France and Belgium including being part of the Dunkirk evacuation.

With Alan's permission we are able to share this account to the boys of today's company and at with the season of Remembrance upon us, what better time to share this.


His introduction to the account, I feel sums up the man:

To the many friends, who, during the war,

Have shown to me, such great kindness,

And fellowship – and to “my greatest hero’s”

My “Father and Mother”

Wartime Pics 
Wartime photo of Jimmy and Cathy


This is not a fairy tale, neither am I Agatha Christie!. It is merely my insignificant experiences, since the beginning of this war, which now engulfs the whole of humanity.

To the more literary minded persons, no doubt, this feeble effort of mine would give many headaches, but as this is not intended for the eyes of these clever people, I go ahead writing just what I saw and experienced. Had I to rely on my memory, for all the events, during this first year of war, I should be in a very sorry state - for my memory is worse than that of a metaphorical hen!

However I kept a diary all thro’ (not a wise thing to do when so near the enemy, but I remained within the military rule against this, by keeping the diary always 7 days behind, and entering items in a more or less personal manner!) and with references to this “wee bookie”, I have compiled the following autobiography, (if such, this may be called!)


You can read the account in the attachment here, which Jimmy completed  5th Nov 1940 - some 75 years ago. 


Pdf Icon


Below are a collection of photos of Jimmy and Cathy.

S LESLIE Nov 2015