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John A'Bear
Born John Gordon A'Bear
16 July 1913
Cheltenham, England
Died 3 October 1979(1979-10-03) (aged 66)
Gloucester, England

John A'Bear (16 July 1913 – 3 October 1979)[1] was an English rugby union player. He played club rugby for Gloucester and was their youngest captain. Although he never won a cap for England, he did tour Argentina with the British Isles team in 1936.

Early life[edit | edit source]

John Gordon A’Bear was born in Cheltenham on 16 July 1913, the son of James Horace A'Bear (1879–1945), an ironmonger, and his wife, Nellie (née Winstone) (1885–1958). He had an older sister, Lottie, (born 1912) and two younger siblings, Charles (b. 1916) and Nellie (b. 1921).[2] He was educated at The Crypt School, Gloucester.[1]

Rugby career[edit | edit source]

John played for Gloucester from 1933 until 1939 and was also selected to represent his county, Gloucestershire, from 1935-39.[1] He was a part of the County Championship winning side of 1936-37. At the age of 24, A'Bear became Gloucester's youngest Captain and continued his captaincy the following season. His record in his first year of captaincy was 29 wins from 36 matches.

As a second row, he formed a solid and famous partnership with Digger Morris and was best man at Digger Morris’s wedding. They were also known for their rendition of "The Pig Song" as after-match entertainment.[1]

John was never capped for England, but was an international due to his selection for the tour Argentina with the British Isles team in 1936. In 1936, he was a reserve for an England trial at Bristol.

During the Second World War, he played a number of matches for Gloucester and for representative sides but, due to business commitments, retired in 1946.

Family and later life[edit | edit source]

John married his first cousin, May A'Bear (born 1914, Montreal) in Quebec, Canada. She was the daughter of Alfred A'Bear and Edith Stirling. They had two children, both born in Gloucester, Suzanne (born 1942) and Judith (born 1944). John died in 1979.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

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