John William Else(1885–1949)


Royal Field Artillery 231252 218 Brigade; 1104 Battery

Photos courtesy Elizabeth Griffiths

John William Else in WW1

John William was born in 1885 to Samuel and Eliza Else of Crich. John, employed as a frame minder at Lea Mills, married Ethel M Martin in 1913 March qtr (Belper reg district). Joining the army on 10th April 1917 aged thirty-three, he was posted to India where he received parcels of hosiery, writing paper and food from J.B. Marsden-Smedley, his employer. He at Kingsway Camp, Delhi, India when he received the parcels of hosiery in December 1917 and groceries in January 1918. Distance and duties meant that his replies were delayed. The hosiery was acknowledged in a letter when he wrote of ‘a very useful parcel and also thank you for the undershirts and writing paper which was forwarded on to me by my wife.’ The food was provided by Austin’s of Derby.
He was photographed with the regimental football team in India.

John William Else with regimental football team

John is marked with a cross (note the corporal stripes)

On Crich Roll of Honour and in the Lea Mills parcels book he is listed as “Driver John William Else”, but the photograph of him with the footballers indicates that he was a Corporal.

John William Else in Idia

John in India

John William Else

Studio photo of John

During the war a set of three postcards was produced by Lea Mills showing men who had volunteered. John was one of those men featured on the postcards.

Lea Mills postcard

John William Else in WW1

Lea Mills postcards

He returned to Crich after demob and to his employment at Lea Mills. An application had been made for his return to the factory by August 1919. J.B. Marsden-Smedley, the managing director of Lea Mills, had promised all returning servicemen their jobs back when war ended.

Medal Roll Index Cards
Awarded the British War and Victory medals.

Letter to JB Marsden-Smedley

March 14th 1918
Dear Sirs
I beg to acknowledge your parcel just received for which I am very thankful I think it was a very useful parcel & also thank you for the undershirts & writing paper which was forwarded onto me by my wife it is nice to think you think of us out here I am very pleased to say I am in the best of health & spirits also wishing you the same & every success to Lea Mills again thanking you
Yours truly
J W Else

His brother James Frederick Else is also on the Roll of Honour.


1901: The Common, Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Else Head 45 Steel wire drawer Crich
Eliza Else wife 43   Holloway
Sam Else son 18 Coal miner Crich
Eliza Else daughter 17 Cotton winder Crich
Jno W Else son 15 Woollen weaver Crich
James F Else son 4   Crich

RG13 piece 3231 folio 60 page 6

1911: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Samuel Else Head 56 Iron & steel wire drawer Crich
Eliza Else wife 53   Holloway
Eliza Else daughter 27 Wool & cotton winder Crich
John William Else son 25 Hosiery frame minder Crich
James Frederick Else son 14 Loop twister wire mills Crich

RG14PN20984 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED13 SN53

1918 Voters List
John William Else, The Common, absent on military service.

1939 Register: The Dimple, Crich
John Else b.25 November 1885; hosiery overlooker
Ethel M Else b.4 June 1888; school teacher
Roy Else b.12 March 1916; tool draughtsman