Training Reserve Battallion
John Stanley Harrison Berresford was born in the fourth quarter of 1899. His parents were John Harrison and Mary Alice Beresford who married in the first quarter of 1900. The Berresford family was recorded under different spellings and even as a totally different name. They were recorded as BERRESFORD, BERESFORD, BERRISFORD and COLLINS.
In 1891 the family are recorded as BERRESFORD. For some unknown reason in 1901 they are named as COLLINS. In 1911 some of the family are BERRISFORD. His army record shows him as John BERRISFORD.
John was a nephew of Frederick William Beresford. He was raised by his grandparents at Crich and Longway Bank. He enlisted in the 7th Seaforths with another under-age Crich volunteer, Nelson Martin Bollington (they had consecutive service numbers). Previously, in Oct 1914 when they were only fifteen they had tried to enlist with the Foresters. John was killed in action in July 1918, having been shot in the head. He was only aged seventeen when he was killed – a newspaper report stated that he was aged 19 which probably reflected the age he said he was on enlistment. He is listed on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Belgium and on the war memorial at Crich.
Medal Index Card
His Medal Roll Cards shows he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals and had three Regimental Numbers. His name was recorded as Berrisford.
Derbyshire Courier, 3 August 1918
Crich, Lea, & Holloway
News was received by Mrs Ellen Berrisford of the Town End Crich, last weekend that her grandson Private John Harrison Berrisford, Seaforth Highlanders, had been killed in action. The intimation came from his officer Capt G V Stewart, in a letter written 21st July, which stated: – "It is with deepest regret that I have to inform you that your son, Private John Berrisford, was killed in action yesterday evening. He was engaged in the successful advance on Meteren, when he was shot through the head. Death was absolutely instantaneous. Your son was not very long with those, but he had all the qualities of a fine soldier, and his cheerful disposition was a comfort to us all. I am asked by his comrades to convey to you their sympathy in your loss." Private Harrison Berrisford had lived with his grandmother since infancy. He was 19 years of age. He had been in the Army since April last year. Before enlisting he worked at Wingfield Manor Colliery.
John Berresford's uncle Frederick William Berresford is also on the Roll of Honour.
|Date of Death||20/07/1918|
|Additional Information||Son of Mrs. Mary Alice Harrison, of 34, Bleak Hall, East Kirkby, Notts.|
|Casualty type||Commonwealth War Dead|
|Grave/Memorial Reference||Panel 9|
Soldiers' Effects Book
Berresford John; 7th Bn Seaforth Highlanders; Private 25226; killed in action France 20.7.18; War Gratuity £4 10s 0d; grandmother Ellen received £7 7s 1d on 1.3.19; uncle Samuel received £4 10s 0d on 28.2.20
The following dialogue by Martyn Offord is of an imaginary conversation between Nelson Bollington and his friend John Berresford was enacted at the November 2014 Crich Front Lines memorial event in the Glebe Field Centre in honour of the two under-age friends.
Two lively lads of Crich
JB/NB Two lively lads of Crich are we. We go together like:
JB and Hill
JB and Carr
JB and Bridge
JB and Keen
JB and Cutter
NB (Looks enquringly at JB) What!?
JB and Standwell
JB/NB Two lively lads of fifteen. Great fun we had around Crich in those sunny days before the War.
JB Fishing in the Derwent in the early dawn
NB Trapping rabbits in Crich Chase
JB Watching the girls come to market (both nudge and snigger)
NB Watching lovers in the hay stacks (both nudge and snigger)
JB Singing along with Daddy Haywood from Top School
NB Sandow’s Circus
JB Football in the winter
NB Cricket in the summer
JB Shooting crows in the Autumn
JB/NB Yea – shooting (both go off into pretend shooting games)
JB/NB But there was work too – hard work – thirsty work – dusty work - a life time of work –
JB In the quarry – hard and dusty
NB In the pit – hard and dark
JB In the factory – hard and noisy
NB On the railway – hard and boring
JB On the land – hard and muddy
JB/NB Then that summer of 1914 someone in the village said there was a war on and they were recruiting lads like us. Hurray – shooting Huns not crows – travel, new uniform, lots of fun and home by Christmas. (Chant) no more boring, no more noisy, no more digging in the mud (Pause – look at each other – their gazes drop and they sigh)
NB Trouble was you had to be 18 – but I squared up, tried to shave, sounded all husky and gave it a go – there I am in a photograph with the Crich lads in The Sherwood Foresters December 1914. But of course all the other lads knew I was just 15 and someone must have said. So I was told to go home. It was dead embarrassing.
JB Nelson was really upset. I remember. We were leaning over the bridge at Whatstandwell dropping stones in the water. Some of the lads had just come off shift and were in the pub – not so many as there used to be though. That’s when we decided to have another go – this time where no one would know us.
JB/NB Yes we went together like
NB and Dutchman
NB and Arms
NB and Swan
NB and Sun
JB/NB Pals we were, and chums, and mates and Comrades in Arms. Yes we joined the Seaforth Highlanders. We became Scotties – do bagpipe imitations and highland flings etc.
9th Scottish Division, 7th Battalion.
And they didn’t know our ages
Always together we were – lively lads of Crich in a Scottish regiment!
NB (mock Scottish accent saluting) Bollington, Nelson, Private S/25227 reporting Sir
JB (as above) Berresford, John Stanley Harrison, Private S/25228 reporting Sir
NB We didn’t really know what we were here for. We’d never heard of Wipers though they said that’s where we were. We hadn’t really heard of Belgium or ‘Plug Street’ but we were two lively Crich lads together. Even when we got transferred and got new regimental numbers:
NB Bollington, Nelson Private S/22354 reporting Sir
JB Berresford, John Stanley Harrison, Private S/22355 reporting Sir
JB/NB We don’t really know what battles we were in – just routine shells falling and shrapnel and flares and snipers and mud and mud and mud. But we stayed two lively Crich lads together like
NB and Foot
NB and wire
NB and Bang
NB and gun
JB/NB and Fritz and Hun and cold and wet and fear and sweat and rats and mice and mould and lice and saps and mud and screams and blood.
NB But we were always together – then – we weren’t. I don’t know what happened – there wasn’t a real battle, just one of those routine, everyday things. It might have been a shell, or a sniper in no-man’s land, an accident with a gun, sucked down into a crater, trampled in the mud, blown to bits – no known grave – not a cap or a buckle a boot or a knapsack. Just his name.
JB On the Ploegsteert Memorial with 11,000 others. Panel 9. Just my name – spelt wrong.
|Lilly E||Collins||daughter||17||Wool doubler||Crich|
|John W||Harrison||son in law||22||Wire Drawer||Crich|
RG13 piece 3231 folio 42 page 4
1911: Longway Bank, Whatstandwell
|Samuel Wragg||Berrisford||son||21||Limestone Quarryman||Crich|
|Martha Ann||Berrisford||daughter||18||Merino spinner||Crich|
|John Stanley Harrison||Berrisford||grandson||11||Crich|
RG14PN20984 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED13