Benjamin Gretton (1898–1964)


(Royal) Army Service Corps DM2/230091  

Photo courtesy Mark Gretton

Benjamin Gretton as Special Constable

Ben as a Special Constable post WW1

Benjamin was born in Crich in 1898 and lived at Wheatcoft with his parents Benjamin and Hannah Gretton. He worked at Lea Mills in the spinning department and was twenty-one when he joined the forces on 16th September 1916, serving in the Motor Transport Division of the Army Service Corps. He was attached to 95th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery, British Expeditionary Force, France. Ben received four parcels of groceries from the Marsden-Smedley family between December 1916 and September 1918 and one parcel of hosiery in December 1917. His letters, like so many written from foreign parts, expressed his gratitude for the gifts, his appreciation of the fine condition in which the groceries were received and sent his good wishes to the firm and the family. He had not returned to the Mill by August 1919, although volunteer employees had been promised re-employment. On his demob a tea and social was held in his honour at Wheatcroft. He married Sarah A Slack in 1927 and moved to Wirksworth, running a grocery and hardware provisions business. At the outset of WW2 he served as a special constable and became a councillor on Wirksworth UDC.

Photo courtesy Mark Gretton

ben Gretton and other special constables

Ben, sitting extreme left, with other Special Constables

Letter to J.B. Marsden-Smedley

Pte B Gretton
Mr. J B Marsden- Smedley
Dear Sir
I am pleased to say that I received your welcome parcel two days ago; I wish to thank you so much for it and I hope in your good work that you prosper as I am sure you earn the goodwill of all those lucky enough to get the “tangeable thought” So here’s luck to the “Old Firm” and may fortune smile on it even in these hard times.
I am Sir, Yours Gratefully
B Gretton

Medal Index Record
Benjamin was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.

Newspaper report

Derbyshire Courier, 22 November 1919
Wheatcroft people gave a welcome home to two more of its returning soldiers on Saturday at the United Methodist Chapel. the Rev R E Clark presiding. The guests were Messrs George Patilla and Ben Gretton, both of whom have seem much service in France. Nearly 50 sat down to tea which was followed by a social evening.


1901: Wheatcroft

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Benjamin Gretton Head 34 Farmer Crich
Hannah Gretton wife 28   Pinxton
Benjamin Gretton son 3   Crich
Etehl Minnie Gretton daughter 7 mo   Crich
Elizabeth Gretton mother (wdw) 73   Sapperton
Lawrence Smith nephew 12   Crich

RG13 piece 3231 folio 34 page 14

1911: Wheatcroft

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Benjamin Gretton Head 44 Farmer Crich
Hannah Gretton wife 38   Pinxton
Benjamin Gretton son 13   Crich
Ethel Minnie Gretton daughter 10   Crich
Arthur Gretton son 7   Crich
Amy Gretton daughter 5   Crich

RG14PN20985 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED14 SN178

1939 Register: Main Street, Wirksworth
Benjamin Gretton b.12 January 1898; grocer, hardware & provisions dealer, special constable
Sarah A Gretton b.1 August 1899; assisting husband
Benjamin Gretton b.June 1929; school