John A'Bear

Photo:John A'Bear & Digger Morris

John A'Bear & Digger Morris

Gloucester's youngest captain 1937-39

By John Theyers

John Gordon A’Bear was born in Cheltenham on 16 July 1913. He was educated at The Crypt School Gloucester.

John played regularly for Gloucester from 1933 until 1939 and for Gloucestershire from 1935-39, playing for the county in 1936-37, the year that they won the County Championship.  In 1937-38, at the age of 24, A'Bear became the club’s youngest Captain. He also captained the club the following season. During his first year of captaincy the club recorded 29 wins out of 36 matches.

The second row partnership of Digger Morris and John A’Bear was one of the great strengths of Gloucester during the period. John was best man at Digger Morris’s wedding and together they would provide after-match entertainment with their version of “The Pig Song”.

Although John never played for England, he toured Argentina with the British team in July 1936 and later that year was reserve for an England trial at Bristol.

He played a number of matches for Gloucester and for representative sides during WW2 but retired in 1946 due to business commitments. He died in January 1979.



This page was added by John Theyers on 08/07/2009.
Comments about this page

It's usually known as "There was an Old Farmer who had an Old Sow". There are many variations on the lyrics but has them accredited to Albert Richardson in 1928. To get a good idea of what it sounds like go to We've also got a snippet of Digger singing it - go to

By Dick Williams
On 01/02/2012

Does anyone know the lyrics to this famous 'pig song'? I did an internet search and found a few songs about pigs but none that seemed to warrant such fame. I hope the lyrics are printable!

By Dave Middleditch
On 01/02/2012

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