Private James William (Bill) Berry No. R/406725


Bill registered as willing to serve his King & Country on 18 December 1914

He was enlisted on 8 April 1915. 



Prior to the war he was registered as a Gardner in a 1912 National Health Insurance document and, as will be sen from his end of war employment offer below, worked for a time for Hopcraft builders.

But when he joined the 42nd Remount Squadron of the Royal Army Service Corps in 1915 - based at the Remount Depot at Shirehampton near Bristol  - he had become a Groom and, according to his Certificate of Employment,  "A very good and reliable worker. A good groom and rider."

The Remount Division were tasked with supplying the army with the hundreds of thousands of horses that were required to support the army in France and Belgium and further afield. In Bill's case 'further afield' was to be deployed to Salonika as his Certificate of Identity (l) shows. The British Salonika Army was formed in 1915 and was still in place at war's end through to 2021.


He was in the fortunate position of knowing he had a job to come back to as this letter (l) in January 1919 from Mr A Hopcraft and  addressed to his Squadron in Salonika shows.

He was 'dispersed' from Salonika on 24 March 1919 and transferred to the Reserves (r) on 28 April 1919




WWII - Royal Observer Corps

Bill was too old for active service so he joined the Royal Observer Corps and was part of the Deddington Group whose Observation Post was on the Hempton Road near the site of the present Windmill Centre. More about the Deddington Post can be seen in the ROC section of A Parish at War. He is in the front row far left in this picture below



 Bill remained a member of the Corps for some time with the No 23406.  The test certificate on the left shows that he was still a member in 1948 when he achieved a Primary Pass. 

We know the ROC continued into the Cold War because a special underground radiation proof (theoretically!) bunker was dug at Barford Airfield. More about this can be read in A Parish at War.






Further links

Berry family

Ldg. Cook Sid Berry (WWII)

A Parish at War p.60 - Sgt Ken Berry (WWII)

Berry Brothers - A Gallery album