John Lister (1896–1960)

Lance Corporal


Simon Johnson
John Lister – sometimes known as Jack – was born at Heckmondwike in the West Riding of Yorkshire on 16 January 1896. He was the youngest of the three children of Charles Lister and Sarah Ann Cowburn, with a sister and brother, though the brother died in infancy. John and his sister were raised at Liversedge in Yorkshire and their father was a master butcher who had operated several retail meat shops in the locality between 1884 and 1919.

John came to Derbyshire as a teenager when his father became a large shareholder in a stone quarry concern at Whatstandwell. Between 1916 and 1923 John’s father leased Coddington Farm from the Duke of Devonshire and operated a quarry on the estate, which was known locally as the Duke’s Quarries. During the war years the business practically came to a standstill, driving John’s father to the point of bankruptcy, which led to his subsequent relocation to Preston.

No details have been identified of John’s army service during the war as his service records have not survived. The Roll of Honour in Crich Parish Church shows that he had served as a non-commissioned officer with the rank of Lance Corporal.

After he was discharged from the army, John returned to Whatstandwell and married Helena Phyllis Muffat Swain in 1919. Along with his father, John appears to have been a director of the quarrying concern at Whatstandwell, but after the failure of the business, and his father’s relocation to Lancashire in about 1923, John remained at the quarries as works manager. For a number of years he lived with his family at Derwent Villas at Whatstandwell.

It is known that during the 1930s he held the position of chairman for the Crich branch of the British Legion and played a central role in commemorative events in the Crich area. John Lister passed away at Chesterfield on 20 November 1960, aged 64 years

Newspaper report

Derby Daily Telegraph; 13 November 1933
Members of the Crich British Legion, Old Comrades, Parish Council, School Managers, Rural Council, Boy Scouts, Cubs, Brownies, Girl Guides, Friendly Societies, Welfare Committee and other organisations, headed by Crich Silver Band, paraded to Crich Parish Church yesterday for a Remembrance Service conducted by the Rev H.E. Jones (Vicar), who was assisted by Captain Graham. “O Valiant Hearts” was sung, Mr A. Pearson being the organist. The “Last Post” and “Reveille” was sounded by Bandsman J. Holmes,
Mr John Lister (chairman of the British Legion) was in command of the parade. British Legion officers assisting were Mr E Burtt (secretary) and Mr A Day (Treasurer). Mr N. Smith was in charge of the Comrades, and Commissioner Flora MacDonald assisted by officers of the other organisations, also assisted. Councillor F.J. Lynam (chairman of the Parish Council) was present.

The bandsman J. Holmes mentioned in the report was James Holmes who is also on the Roll of Honour.


1901: Liversedge

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
Charles Lister Head 37 Butcher Whitley Bridge
Sara Ann Lister wife 40   Liversedge
Margaret Lister daughter 8   Heckmondwike
John Lister son 5   Heckmondwike

RG13 piece 4263 folio page 2

1911: Mortray Hill, Badale

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
John Lister Boarder 15 Farm pupil Heckmondwike

1918 Crich voters
John Lister, Coddington; absent on military service.

1939 Register: Derwent Villas Whatstandwell
John Lister b.16 January 1896; engineer, manager stone quarries
Helena P M Lister b.4 September 1898
Margaret H Lister b.29 October 1921; student college