|Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment)||200903|
Photos courtesy Clive and Sandra Redfern
Photos courtesy Wendy Baird
The First World War 'Roll of Honour' inside Crich Parish Church lists 'REDFERN, L.CPL. J. HBT.' – an abbreviation of 'Lance Corporal J. Herbert Redfern'. Research has highlighted that 'Hbt.' – a contraction of Herbert – was almost certainly a scribal error when the name was added to the Roll. A couple named Herbert and Eliza Redfern are listed as Whatstandwell residents on the 1918 register of electors, and are known to have had sons named Job Henry Redfern and George Herbert Redfern. Family recollections have confirmed that the older son Job Henry Redfern served in the army during the war, and a photograph survives of him in uniform with a Lance Corporal chevron on his arm. It is clear, therefore, that the name should have been listed on the Roll as 'REDFERN, L.CPL. J. HY.'
Job Henry Redfern – better known as Harry – was born at Carsington in Derbyshire on 29 February 1899. He was the older of two sons born to Herbert Redfern and Eliza Petts. Part of Harry's childhood was spent at Handley Wood, near Shottle, where the Redfern family had long farming associations. By the time of the First World War the family was living at Whatstandwell, on the outskirts of the parish of Crich. Harry's father lived at Thurlow Booth for a number of years.
Harry’s army service records have not survived and it hasn’t yet been possible to identify his regimental details with certainty. It is known from the Roll of Honour inside Crich Parish Church that he served with the rank of Lance Corporal, and a surviving photograph of Harry in uniform shows him with the Lance Corporal's insignia of a single chevron on his jacket sleeve. Three other photographs of Harry in uniform show him wearing the cap badge of the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). Harry was born in February 1899, and the surviving photographs clearly show an underage soldier, suggesting that he had volunteered prior to the introduction of conscription in 1916.
‘Harry’ was the name used on his 1920 marriage registration, so it is likely that this was the name entered on army papers, as no military records can be located of a ‘Job Henry Redfern’. The most likely entry in the British Army WW1 Medal Rolls Index Cards is for a Harry Redfern of the Sherwood Foresters, with a rank of Lance Corporal and a regimental number of 200903. There appears to be no medal entitlement, though it does state that this man was awarded the Silver War Badge (SWB) for having been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness. The records for the SWB state that he enlisted on 29 October 1914, and was discharged from service on 26 September 1918. This states that he didn’t serve abroad, and the date of enlistment means that he volunteered at fifteen years of age.
After his discharge from the army, Harry became connected with the stage, and from 1919 until 1933 he variously worked as property master, stage carpenter, and stage manager. In 1920 he was married at Manchester to a dancer from Scotland named Maisie Patterson. Settling in Derbyshire, they had two sons. Harry acquired the tenancy of the Cross Keys Inn at Holbrook in November 1933, though vacated the property less than a year later. Moving to live in Derby, he subsequently acquired the tenancy of four clubs in Derby during 1934-35, before finding employment locally as a machine hand, and later as a crane driver.
Harry Redfern passed away at Derby in 1972, aged seventy-three years.
Silver War Badge
200903 L/Cprl Redfern Harry; Badge 496993; enisted 29/10/14; discharged 26/9/18; did not serve abroad.
1901: The Yard, Carsington, Ashborne
|Job Henry||Redfern||Grand son||2||Carsington|
1911: Handley Wood, Shottle, Belper