Spencer Robinson Jones was born in March 1914, the son of William J. Jones a foreman mechanical engineer and his wife Annie. In Spencer’s early years his family lived in Farm Road, Aberaman, later moving to Bridge Cottage, Robertstown. He was the only son with six sisters.
He started school at Park Boys School, and after obtaining a scholarship, transferred to Aberdare Boys County School in 1926. He passed his School Certificate in 1930, and in 1932 his Higher Certificate in French and English, with a distinction in the latter subject. Leaving initially as a Student Teacher, he continued his education at the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire in Cardiff. Spencer took a BA Honours Degree in English together with Finals Latin, and Subsidiary German and French.
After becoming a certificated teacher he started work teaching English at Caernarvon County Grammar School.
However the lure of the valleys proved too strong and in 1937 Spencer returned to live in Aberdare, having been appointed as senior English master at Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School in Merthyr Tydfil. There he also taught Latin, Geography, PT and Games.
His teaching career was interrupted in 1939 when he joined the RAF, where due to a failure to meet RAF eyesight requirements he was prevented from flying. Instead he started as a fitter on aircraft, especially Lancaster bombers, and learned the skills which were to give him the lifetime hobby of car maintenance. Later he rose to the rank of Flt. Lt. and, as an Education Officer, he set up a special scheme of educational and vocational training (EVT) for RAF and WAAF staff. He had responsibility for this in a number of RAF stations with a total strength of over 5,000 men and women. His were the first RAF stations in the UK to start an EVT scheme, which was of great benefit to airmen and women, helping to equip them for civilian life after the war.
During these war years Spencer married Constance Tuxworth from Lincolnshire having met her while he was stationed in the county. Their son Gareth was born there in 1945, and their daughter Patricia was born in 1946 after their return to Aberdare.
After the War, Spencer returned to his post at Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School, leaving there in the early 1950s to become headteacher of Maesycoed Infant and Junior School in Pontypridd.
His next and final post was as Head of Bryngolwg Secondary Modern School in Mountain Ash. This was later to become a department of Mountain Ash Comprehensive School.
Spencer and Constance Jones set up home in Abernant in 1956, where they brought up their family. Their son Gareth attended ABGS 1956-63, won a George Hall Travelling Scholarship and went up to Queen’s College, Cambridge to read English.
Their daughter Patricia was a pupil of Aberdare Girls Grammar School, 1957-64. She qualified as a teacher at The Monmouthshire Training College, Caerleon and pursued a successful career in teaching, concluding as headteacher of Knollmead Primary in Kingston upon Thames.
Spencer died in July 2002.
Many thanks to Pat and Connie for their help in the preparation
of this appreciation of Spencer’s career.