Teddy bear that became World War Two hero

The now famous teddy bear [Via]

A World War Two widow has stolen the hearts of the British public as she revealed that a tiny 20cm teddy bear accompanied her husband, a Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot, throughout the war.

Jean Mellows, who is now 89, wrote a letter to a national British newspaper when she read a similar story to her own in which a bear accompanied a Battle of Britain pilot. Jean wrote that she also had a similar story with her husband who carried a tiny teddy bear with her maiden name sewn onto it. Jean had given her the finance the bear before he went off to fly with the RAF.

Pilot Officer Paul Mellows was a Mosquito night-fighter pilot and flew more than 50 missions over enemy territory, and throughout his entire service Jean’s bear went with him. Mellows was awarded with the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

Jean and Paul first met in 1943 at a church tea party in Surrey in the south of England. Paul was on leave and asked if he could help Jean to carry her tea tray. Jean was 18 and Paul was 21 at the time. During their courtship Jean gave Paul her teddy bear as a lucky charm and from that point on it didn’t leave Paul’s side.

The couple were married in 1946 and remained together for 50 years. They had five children, 13 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. Paul died in 1997, but Jean kept the bear as a memento of their war years together.

Within a couple of days of Jean’s letter appearing in the newspaper she had people commenting, sharing and liking her words all over the social media stratosphere, the Mail Online reports.

Jean says that she originally had the bear when she attended boarding school and was away from her family. She says that he has never had a name, and while she’s not so familiar with social media she’s come to understand that the bear has become a minor celebrity.

Jean tells stories of Paul’s war missions when bear went along with him. She recalls how the tail of his plane wasdestroyed by anti-aircraft fire above Stuttgart. For a brief time the RAF declared him missing in action, but he was able to finally get his plane back to England. Now the bear has Paul’s medal pinned to his chest.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE