If you have children, or are planning on having some, then the ubiquitous soft toys all need naming. This process may seem completely normal or perhaps bizarre to outsiders, but to those who choose the names they are invariably of a personal nature, and maybe with a deeper meaning. So allow me introduce you to ‘Binho’ (pronounced Been-O) and ‘Charlie’.
For an understanding of these names, a slight knowledge of military history and Formula One would be useful, but not essential.
Any parent will tell you their children are the most precious things in the world (full-stop/period), and so my naming of these two soft-toys took on a great significance. Generally, I’m not a superstitious person, but when, literally, the most important thing in the world comes along, it draws on our inner superstitions perhaps those primeval instincts that are as old as parenting itself. It gives us a little more confidence, or perhaps the belief that there are forces out there that we don’t understand but we want them on our side nonetheless. So, despite a total dedication in parenting you can’t actually keep an eye on your precious tiny ones twenty-four hours a day. You have to sleep too.
These two little bears were so named to keep watch throughout those unseen hours over my gorgeous babies.
The bear’s names:
‘Binho’ – during his Formula One career, Rubens Barrichello had the nickname of ‘Rubinho’, a favourite driver of my wife’s. Unfortunately for Rubens, he drove at Ferrari at the same time as Michael Schumacher and was known as his ‘rear-gunner’; primarily to help Michael and do any defending for the World-Champion.
‘Charlie’ – A term often used in the military, and especially used for the bloke sat at the back of many RAF bombers during World War II was ‘Arse-End Charlie’ or ‘Tail-End Charlie’.
Who better could I find to keep watch over the two most important things in my life, than the symbolism of a Bomber Command rear-gunner? The lonely position, requiring a dedicated, vigilant, watchful eye, throughout long hours of darkness, completely alert, in the most vulnerable position, and unflinching in the protection of others.
Unselfish dedication and sacrifice.
This is not meant in any way to demean or trivialise the memory of these men. Simply put, I could not think of a higher accolade to watch over my two babies. My grandfather worked for AVRO during WWII on Lancaster production – a fact I’m unbelievably proud of.
Binho and Charlie have now been relegated in fondness by other soft toys (dinosaurs) but some history is real and deserving, and the other scientific analysis.
When it came to it, you know which I placed my faith in.
Suggested reading: Rear Gunner Pathfinders – Ron Smith (ISBN 9780907579274)