Lance-Corporal Jack Jones

Lance-Corporal Jack Jones
Lance-Corporal Jack Jones
Dad's Army character
Clive Dunn-1973.png
First appearance The Man and the Hour
Last appearance Never Too Old
Portrayed by

TV Series: Clive Dunn

Stage Show:Clive Dunn and Jack Haig
Occupation Butcher
Affiliated with Home Guard

Lance Corporal Jack Jones is a fictional Home Guard platoon lance-corporal, veteran of the British Empire [1] and butcher portrayed by Clive Dunn in the BBC television sitcom Dad's Army. His catchphrases are "Don't panic!" and "They don't like it up 'em!" and occasionally, "You saved my life!" usually to Captain Mainwaring.


Jones was born in 1870 in Walmington-on-Sea, and he joined the army as a drummer boy in 1884. Thereafter, he served in five military campaigns — the Mahdist War in the Sudan (1884–1885), the British Reconquest of Sudan (1896–1899), the Boer War (1899–1901) and the First World War (1914–1918). During his service on the Western Front, he was known as the Mad Bomber, due to his inclination to throw grenades madly. He was discharged from the army in 1916. He also once formed part of a Guard of Honour for Queen Victoria. Occasionally he mentions fighting the Pathans in the North-West Frontier (he is probably referring to either the Second or the Third Anglo-Afghan War).

At the outbreak of the Second World War Jones was working as a butcher. 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' ability to provide off-the-ration meat may have had rather more to do with this decision than Jones' abilities, which were declining somewhat due to his age. His vision, for example, was so poor that when signing up for duty, he initially signed the table instead of the form.

In many episodes, Jones fondly recalls his participation in the Battle of Omdurman in the Sudan, facing the "Fuzzy Wuzzies" under the command of General Kitchener. 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!"

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). He is also invariably one step behind the rest of the platoon in any drill manoeuvre. This is apparently a trait he has had throughout his military career; a fellow veteran remembered Jones by this trait. Only twice was Jones witnessed to be in step with the platoon, once after a whole year's practice; but he quickly reverted to form. The next time was when the whole platoon took the extra second Jones always does to respond to make them look orderly. He often makes far-fetched suggestions, such as advising that they chop off the German prisoners' trouser buttons, on the grounds that if they escaped, a group of men walking through the town with their trousers around their ankles might cause people to "raise some inquiries". Every time, Jones' suggestions are soundly refuted by Mainwaring with a curt "I think you're wandering into the realms of fantasy, Jones." Jones is notably brave, eagerly volunteering for even the most suicidal of missions: for example, when the platoon was discussing torture, he declared loudly and excitedly that the platoon should torture him to see what they we're 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. Jones uses odd turns of phrase such as "It would be more tasty for us to tell him" (instead of "tasteful"), and "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. Whenever action or danger may be imminent he becomes near-hysterical and 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).

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.

In one episode, The Two and a Half Feathers (a parody of The Four Feathers) Jones has to confront his past when a former comrade from the Sudan, Private Clarke, joins the Walmington-on-Sea platoon. Clarke accuses Jones of leaving him to die, following an incident many years before in which both men were attacked and kidnapped by dervishes. After his courage is doubted by the town and the platoon, Jones later vindicates himself with the true story of what happened (which he had nobly held back to spare a third party unnecessary pain or scandal). After Jones reveals the truth, Clarke later flees without explanation, leaving Jones' honour and respect intact.

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' 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' tendency to flatter his superior officer. His main rivalries are with Frazer, and the Verger, whom he calls a troublemaker.

The platoon uses Jones' delivery van as transport for their manoeuvres. Jones is very proud of his van, and is often reluctant to allow various modifications needed for the platoon's activities. The 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. His assistant in the shop is the "boy Raymond".

On informal occasions, Jones is often accompanied by Mrs Fox, his love-interest. Mrs Fox is a busty middle-aged widow, and a regular customer at Jones' butcher shop. In the final episode, Jones and Mrs Fox get married (it is implied that she married him for his supply of meat).

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.

It is 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.

It was also stated in the episode Room at the Bottom, that Jones is a member of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.


Jones is seen wearing his ribbon bars throughout the series and recognise his previous service in the British Army. They are as follows:

Egypt Medal BAR.svg India Medal BAR.svg

Queens Sudan Medal BAR.svg Queens South Africa Medal BAR.svg Kings South Africa Medal BAR.svg India General Service Medal 1909 BAR.svg 1914-15 Star ribbon.jpg

British War Medal BAR.svg Victory Medal ribbon.png Khedives Sudan Medal 1897.png

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 (or 1914–15 Star) 8. British War Medal 9. Allied Victory Medal 10. Long Service and Good Conduct Medal (with post-1918 ribbon) 11. Khedive's Sudan Medal (1882–1891) 12. Khedive's Sudan Medal (1897)


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