John Patrick (Spartacus) Blaney
National Service with South East Lancs
Lancashire Fusiliers

3rd Bn Royal Regiment of Fusiliers
Died 17th January 2017
Royal Chelsea Hospital

The Wren Chapel Roof

John at Rest

John O'Grady's Tribute

John Patrick (Spartacus) Blaney

JB began his life in the city of Liverpool in August 1929. He was surrounded by a very close knit family of whom he was fiercely proud. He was a fantastic brother to his loving sister and an inspirational role model to all that knew him.
John paid very close attention to his family and their respective welfares. He was highly regarded by them all, and someone that they could all turn to in difficult times - he was in fact their little hero. They regularly visited JB at his little Hacienda in Spain and spent some wonderful times there together. He will be sorely missed by each and every one of them.
From a military point of view, JB's career began with National Service in 1947, where he served with the South Lancashire Regiment. He saw service in Trieste, Austria from where he was demobbed.
Civilian life did not suit John and after five years he enlisted as a regular soldier into his beloved regiment XX The Lancashire Fusiliers and began his service in Cyprus as a Regimental Drummer. Unfortunately for JB the drum straps that supported the side drum were a standard size and John found it difficult to march as he kept tripping over the drum. To make amends, he was posted to a Rifle Company as a Rifleman.
I would like to point out that during the EOKA Campaign John was awarded a mention in Dispatches for an Act of Duty above and beyond the call of his normal duties, of which I am certain his family are very proud.
At the end of 1959 the Battalion was posted to Osnabruck, Germany and once settled in, JB became the Battalion Sports Storeman, and as a very keen footballer, he took charge of the Battalion Football Team. It was also at this time Lt. Colonel James Wilson took command of the unit, later to become General Sir James Wilson K.B.E.M.C who also was very keen on football. He wrote the main football columns for the Sunday Times. One afternoon whilst watching JB coaching the team he decided that JB's coaching tactics were twenty years out-of-date and ordered John to return to the UK and report to Everton Football Club and to the then Manager Harry Catterick. This had all been pre-arraged by the CO.
JB returned two weeks later with volumes of pamphlets on football skills. As a result, the Battalion football team flourished from this new found information as to how the modern game should be played and it was from this moment on that the name 'Spartacus' was bestowed on JB by Colonel James - a name he is still known by today.
JB's other passion was helping to train the Battalion boxing team. The most poignant moment that I can recall was our journey to 16 Light Ack Ack Battalion only to find that one of the team failed to make the regulated weight. Rather than loose the two points Spartacus stepped up to the mark to represent the Battalion. His opponent was 6ft tall and hit JB that many times that John thought that the 600 spectators present were all throwing gloves at him. Even though the towel was thrown into the ring, Spartacus kicked it out and finished the fight. Speaking to John after the fight he asked how did I think he had done. I replied "at the end of the second you had him worried, he thought he had killed you".
John also had a unique talent as an impersonator and his renderings of Dame Shirley Bassey 'Big Spender' and Louis Armstrong's 'What a Wonderful World' was something to behold. Standing on stage with a white handkerchief and belting out the lyrics - the highlight of some wonderful evenings in The Corporal's and Sergeant's messes.
All of us present here today will remember our own good times with JB and I am sure that you will all agree that the legacy he leaves behind will be that of a man who loved his family and friends, his Regiment and the uniform he wore. A man who never spoke ill of anyone and will be remembered for a long time to come.
In closing, may I express the family's and the regiment's sincere thanks for the wonderful care that JB has received during his stay here at the Royal Hospital Chelsea.

How John would have wanted it the lads having a drink and him not paying

Norman Tooth not often you see this as Norman does not Drink

from the left going round Peter Barton Peter Clinton Cass Youngs son and Cass Young

Dezzy Vernon and Joe Rawlinson

Joe Rawlingson trying to get this lad to buy him a drink telling
him he can get 4 pints for what he had to pay here

WO2 Tug Wilson John's Friend who he worked with at Warcop and Ann Scotson


Liverpool 2006

Bury Gallipoli 2016

John as Parade Sgt Major Liverpool 2008