John William Byard (1894–1918)


Royal Engineers 80092 94th Field Coy

Derbyshire Courier 26 January 1918

Newspaper photo of John William Byard

John, the son of Francis and Thirza Ann Byard, lived at Park Head, Crich. He was a coal miner, who married Hannah Mary Bowmer in 1914 and had a family; they lived at Rock Terrace in Crich. A driver with the Royal Engineers, he enlisted at Derby, entering France in July 1915 he was accidentally killed in Jan 1918, while collecting bricks from ruined buildings. A wall collapsed, killing him instantly. He is buried in Metz-en-Couture Communal Cemetery British Extension, near Calais. His widow later married Jesse Heappey in 1920.

Medal Rolls Index
Awarded Victory, British War and 15-Star Medals
Went to France 20 July 1915
Accidentally killed

Newspaper Report

Derbyshire Times 26 January 1918
The sad news had been received by Mrs J. W. Byard, of Park Head, Crich, that her husband Driver Jno. Wm. Byard was accidentally killed in France. The following letter dated the 10th inst. was received from Capt. J. Strachen, R.E. : – "Dear Mrs Byard, It is my sad duty to have to inform you of the death of your husband, Driver J. W. Byard He was engaged along with four others in collecting bricks from ruined buildings for the construction of stables for his horses, when part part of the wall of the building suddenly collapsed. He ran back to clear himself but tripped and fell. As he fell he was struck in the back by a part of the falling brickwork, which threw him to the ground with great force and must have killed him instantly because there were no signs of life left when his companions went to his rescue. The men who were working along with him took him on a stretcher to a field ambulance near by, but it was, unfortunately, no use. His body was brought back to camp and we buried him the next day, January 15th at the English Cemetery here. The Church of England Chaplain performed the service. The funeral was attended by the Drivers of the Mounted Section who have been his comrades for the past three and a half years and with whom he was most popular. They formed a firing party and the bugler blew "The Last Post" and so paid the last military respects to one who had served his country so well and given his life for the great cause for which we are fighting. Driver Byard was a splendid driver and a fine soldier, with a great sense of duty. He is greatly missed by all in this Company and especially by the men of the Mounted Section and myself, their officer. We all join in sending you and your family our most sincere sympathy in your very great loss." Driver Byard was the third son of Mr and Mrs Francis Byard of Park Head Crich, and would have been 24 years of age next July. He leaves a widow and two children. He joined the Army at the commencement of war and was previously employed as a miner at the Wingfield Manor Colliery.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Name BYARD John
Initials J
Nationality United Kingdom
Rank Driver
Regiment/Service Royal Engineers
Unit 94th Field Coy.
Age 24
Date of Death 14/01/18
Service No 80092
Additional Information Husband of Mrs. M. Hannah Heappey, (formerly Byard), of Rock Terrace, Crick, Matlock, Derbyshire.
Casualty type Commonwealth War Dead
Grave/Memorial Reference II. F. 1.

War grave certificate for John William Byard

Soldiers' Effects Book
John Byard; 94th Field Co RE; Driver 80092; accidentally killed France 14.1.18; War Gratuity £13 10s 0d; paid out to:
15.5.18 widow Mary & children £11 5s 9d
24.11.19 widow Mary £13 10s 0d

John William Byard's brother Albert Byard and nephew James Byard is also on the Roll of Honour.


1901: Bole Hill, Wirksworth

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Francis Byard Head 37 Cottage gardener Ashleyhay
Thirza Ann Byard wife 29   Dentshead, Yorks
Philip H Byard son 10   Wirksworth
Albert Byard son 10   Alftreton
John W Byard son 6   Alfreton
Thomas S Byard son 4   Wirksworth
Ann Stafford mother in law 65   Wirksworth

RG13 piece 3234 folio 89 page 11

1911: Parkhead, Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Francis Byard Head 47 An invalid Wirksworth
Thirza Ann Byard wife 40   Black Moss, Yorks
Philip Henry Byard son 20 Loader in the pit day shift Wirksworth
Albert Byard son 17 Corpral in the pit day shift Wirksworth
John William Byard son 16 Pony driver in the afternoons Wirksworth
Thomas Spencer Byard son 14 Pony driver in the day shifts Wirksworth
Girtrude Byard daughter 9 School Wirksworth
Thirza Ann Byard daughter 4   Wirksworth

RG14PN20985 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED14 SN109