book preview of MARY JONES A BAG OF BONES




This is
the story of Mary Jones born September, 1930. She survived the “Depression.” The
“Bombings” during World War Two,  “Evacuation” “Life in a Chorus line on the

the war. An “unhappy marriage.” “Abandoned with five  children.”


meeting the love of her life, and a new start filled with adventure and travel.


This book is the true story of a child growing up in the thirties and forties, a
time unknown to many of us. From humble and often tragic beginnings, her later
life opened out to a world of travel and unbelievable experiences. These
included life in the R.A.F plus an unhappy marriage to an Irish P.T.I., and five
children later, meeting the Love of her life, an only child, also a Toy Boy who
turns out to be as adventurous as she is. Wonderful reading.

……….Warrant Officer Christine Hill …R.A.A.F.


A true life story, told from the heart, Mary Quigley has captured brilliantly
the pathos, delights and disappointments of her years growing up in England, and
later, her life in

Germany and Spain. ‘Mary Jones a Bag of Bones’ is a truly delightful tale that

shocks and amuses.

Laing, author of ‘Forest Spirit’

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Format: A5 Paperback

Number of pages:

Genre: Non Fiction



Mary R. Quigley

Imprint: Poseidon

Publisher: Poseidon Books
Date Published:  2009
Language: English



This book is
the true story of a child growing up in the thirties and forties, a time that
can never ever be repeated. The story explores the lives of a British soldier
and a French nurse fighting for their countries during World War One from the
perspective of their youngest daughter.  

From a humble
and tragic beginning, this young girl’s life burgeons into a world of intrigue,
travel and unbelievable experiences. A deeply human story from a strong-minded
and independent woman caught up in a patriarchal society with the determination
to make the most of every minute of her life.



 I am not writing my life story for
sympathy, it’s too late for that, more for understanding.

 And hopefully to convince my
children I wasn’t the bad mother I appeared to be. Pity it’s too late for my
darling Ann who is no longer with us, my poor little bird has flown.

Brian has been the boon of my life,
after a bad start to our relationship. But forty five years on, we are still
together and I think we have got it right. His good memory has been an
inspiration to my story and we have managed to laugh about recalling the not so
good times.

In all life has been an adventure,
and I also thought the young people of today might be interested in how life was
from the 1930’s onwards. It can never be again.

 Everything has changed due to
progress but I find it very hard to determine, is it really better.  My personal
opinion, I loved my childhood, my parents spent lots of time with me, yes! I was
punished severely when required, it was for my own good, and never once did I
think I was being wrongly chastised.

I loved everyone and was happy,
although never rewarded with gifts and the small toy at Christmas, was greatly

 Read a sample



My story begins in 1896 in a little
village called St. Omah, padre Calais, France, where my mother was born, on the
7th July 1896; she was baptised Rose, Valentine, Earnastine, Omareen Bernard.
The daughter of a poor German farmer and a French working class lady, she was to
be the oldest of nineteen children, which included seven sets of twins. I often
think the names must have been radically reduced in size after the birth of my
mother, but that is how it was told to me.

Being a poor family, the children
never attended school and so could neither read nor write, but they all took
part in the running of the farm and had no contact or thoughts about money, it
was all work, just to keep food on the table. I never found out about the dates
or births of all the other children, but when Rose (my mother) reached the age
of fourteen years, she started to wonder about the outside world.

She tried to imagine what it would
be like, to work outside the family and actually earn some money, which she
intended to give her mother to improve the situation at home.

The reality began when her mother
found her a job as a servant at a big house several miles away, it was to
include board and lodging and a wage, so Rose excitedly accepted. The following
day she was driven off in a horse and buggy to her new home and place of
employment. During her initial training period, Rose became ill and took to her
bed; her mother was informed and immediately came to see her ailing daughter,
bringing with her half a dozen eggs. On seeing her mama, Rose jumped out of bed
and ran over to embrace her, at which time her mother, turning to speak to the
employer, said, “There is nothing wrong with her.” And she left taking the eggs
with her. Life can be so hard.

My mother told this story to me,
explaining she had been so homesick all she wanted was to return home to family
and never leave again, and so it was till the First World War 1914.

From now on I am unfamiliar with
exact dates, of my French connection, but what happened is this!

Seven of my mother’s brothers were
killed at Verdun. My mother became engaged to a French pilot and became pregnant
to him; he was shot down and killed. Her German father was shot by the Germans
in front of his family, for fraternising with the enemy.

 Eventually Rose gave birth to a
girl she named Marie Antoinette, whom she left with her grieving mother and
joined the French army as a battlefield nurse.

Her job involved going on to the
battlefields with two stretcher bearers and only bringing back soldiers who were
slightly wounded and could be patched up and returned to the fighting lines. It
was during this time that she met my English father.

 Suffering from shrapnel wounds to
the forehead, plus mustard gas burns to his body and face, he desperately called
for help, and the look in his eyes was something she would never be able to
forget, so he was carried back to the field hospital. His wounds were taken care
of, however he was never to be sent back to fight and she was severely
reprimanded for not obeying orders.

She kept in close contact with the
man whose life she almost certainly saved, namely Francis Alphonso Jones, and it
wasn’t long before a deep love grew between these two unlikely individuals. Rose
became “Cherie” meaning dear, to the none French speaking soldier, and he became
“Frenchie” to his compatriots.


Francis Alphonso Jones was born in England on 2nd
August 1889, in the shipbuilding town of Barrow-in-Furness Lancashire. His
father Edward Thomas Jones, born 1865, was married to Hannah Frankland who
mothered his nine children, but unfortunately died at 38 years of age, only a
few days after the birth of her last child.

 At this time it was thought 14 days’ rest in
bed after the birth of a child was necessary, where as now new mothers are
encouraged to get up and gradually get back into a normal life style as soon as
possible. This eliminates the risk of blood clots, which I believe was the cause
of Hannah’s death. The story goes, that on rising from her bed two weeks after
the birth of her son at home, Hannah grasped her head and uttered the last words
she would ever say, “Jesus, Mary and Joseph” and sadly dropped dead.
Edward’s older children always blamed him for the death of their mother saying
the multiple births had been too much for her.

 A housekeeper was then employed to take care of
the family, and my father never did have happy thoughts regarding his childhood.

 As a young man he apparently drank a lot and I
recall one story he told me about arriving home drunk one night, about to go up
the stairs to bed, when he saw an apparition of a lady at the top of the stairs.
He recognised the lady as his mother from a picture he had seen of her, as he
was only a baby when she died, and she looked at him with sad eyes and said,
“Frank you must stop drinking.” He told me he never got drunk again. A small lie
I presume, although the only drink I can associate with my father was a drop of
whisky in his tea at Xmas time, we kids also enjoyed this as a treat on Xmas
morning, regardless of age.

His father Edward was on the stage and made
enough money to buy several houses. He was a clown and a ventriloquist, today he
would have been known as a comedian, but then funny men where called clowns,
probably comes from the saying “clowning around”.

 I think he did very well and he came into my
life in the 1930s when I was only a young child, living at his home, No 34
Harrogate Street, Barrow-in-Furness Lancashire.



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