John Litchfield (1874–1947)

Lance Corporal

Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment) 7476  
Royal Engineers 349201  
Royal Engineers (Railways) W.R. 281788  

Photos courtesy Faith Betteridge

John Litchfield pre-WW1

Edwardian-era photograph of John Litchfield wearing the scarlet tunic of the Sherwood Foresters.
A single chevron on his sleeve denotes his rank as lance corporal.

John Litchfield and Foresters in WW1

Early WW1 photograph featuring a newly-created service battalion of the Sherwood Foresters.
John Litchfield is on the back row third left.

John Litchfield was born at Crich in 1874. He attested for service with the militia in 1897, serving with the 3rd Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters (Derbyshire Regiment). An Edwardian-era photograph of John in uniform shows him wearing the rank insignia of a lance corporal. He married Frances Burton in 1909 and was employed as a railway servant, spending time working as a porter. During the First World War, he enlisted in the Sherwood Foresters on 22 September 1914 – at the age of forty – and served in Kitchener's Army.

An early WW1 photograph featuring John Litchfield shows a newly-created service battalion of the Sherwood Foresters. In common with most of these service battalions, there was a distinct lack of equipment; uniforms were slow to arrive, being temporarily replaced with civilian clothes, and then with blue serge uniforms that looked distinctly unsoldierly. The men in this photograph are clearly wearing these blue serge uniforms, rather than khaki. These 'emergency' uniforms were known as 'Kitchener's Blue'. Given the relatively advanced age of many of these men, it is likely that many (like John) are former soldiers used to train the other men with no military experience.

John was later transferred to the Royal Engineers, working on the railways. He was discharged through sickness in June 1916; he didn't see active service abroad. On the Roll of Honour inside Crich Parish Church, John's rank has been given as 'lance corporal', though this was his pre-WW1 rank with the Sherwoods. He served as a private soldier during WW1, latterly with the rank of 'sapper' during service with the Royal Engineers.
After the war, he returned to his family at Crich and worked for many years as a railway shunter. He passed away in 1947, aged seventy-three years.

Medal Index
He was awarded the Victory and British War Medals.
Notts & Derbys Regiment (Pte 7476) also R.E. (Spr 349201).
Enlisted 22 September 1914; discharged 17 June 1916.
Awarded Silver War Badge

Also recorded on Royal Engineers Railways Regiment Medal Index
W.R.281788 Spr Litchfield John; Notts & Derby 7476 also Royal Engineers 349201 Spr

Silver War Badge
7476 Pte Litchfield John Notts & Derbys Regt; badge 295 684; enlistment 22.9.14 discharge 17.6.16 (aged verified from birth certificate born 1874); sickness aged 43; not served overseas.

Militia Attestation
5644 John Litchfield 3rd Btn Derbyshire Regiment; born at Crich; worked for Butterley Company as labourer; aged 23; single.
Dated 26 January 1897
Height 5ft 6¼ in; weight 132lb; fresh complexion; brown eyes; light brown hair; C of E; scar on first finger left hand

John Litchfield's brother Abraham Litchfield is also on the Roll of Honour.


1881: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
William Litchfield Head 38 FRK Sutton in Ashfield
Mary Litchfield wife 38   Crich
Sarah A Litchfield daughter 16 Merino factory Hand Crich
Wiliam Litchfield son 14 Brick maker Crich
Harriet Litchfield dau 12 Scholar Crich
Rebecca Litchfield daughter 11 Scholar Crich
George Litchfield son 9 Scholar Crich
John Litchfield son 7 Scholar Crich
Mary A Litchfield son 5   Crich
Thomas Litchfield son 3   Crich
Frederick Litchfield son 1   Crich
Luther Litchfield son 10 mo   Crich

RG11 piece 3414 folio 185 page 11

1911: Crich

Forename Surname Relationship Age Occupation Where born
John Litchfield Head 37 Railway Servant Crich
Frances Litchfield wife 17   Chesterfield
Elsie Litchfield daughter 1   Crich

RG14PN20984 RG78PN1251 RD436 SD4 ED13 SN104

1939 Register: Hill Crest, Fritchley
John Litchfield b.4 February 1874; railway shunter retired
Frances Litchfield b.17 August 1893
Thomas Litchfield b.13 July 1922; brick & tile worker heavy worker