Major John Pickard Becher
Major John Pickard Becher

Army Number : n/a

Battalion : 8th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derbys) Regiment.

Awards : D.S.O. (Distinguished Service Order)

Born at Southwell, Notts on the 20th July 1880. Son of John Henry and Alice Mary (nee Pickard) Becher. He was educated at Malvern Links and abroad and on leaving school, served his articles as a solicitor in Newark, Notts and in 1907 was appointed Magistrate's Clerk to the County Bench. He had joined the Territorials on the 1st November 1906, becoming Lieutentant 15th July 1907 and Captain 9th May 1910.
He was married in Southwell, Notts to Gertrude Veronica Gale on 20th April 1911 and had 3 children.

He volunteered for war in 1914, became a Major 18th February 1915 and went to France the same month.
He was awarded the DSO (London Gazette 15th September 1915) "for conspicuous gallantry and good service on several occasions. On 4th April 1915, at Kemmel, when part of his trench was blown in, under heavy fire, he personally assisted in repairing the parapet and digging out buried men. On the 15th June 1915 at Kemmel, when part of his trench was blown in by mines, shells and trench mortars, he displayed great gallantry and coolness in reorganising the defence. On the 30th July 1915 and subsequent days, at Ypres, he displayed great coolness, cheerfulness and resource under trying circumstances, when in temporary command of his battalion."
He was mentioned in despatches (London Gazette 1st January 1916) by Sir John French, "for gallant and distinguished service in the field".

He was dangerously wounded at Hohenzollern Redoubt 15th October 1915 and died at No. 3 Red Cross Hospital, France on the 1st January 1916, of septic poisoning resulting from his wounds, aged 35.

His 2 brothers-in-law, Captain Henry Basil Strutt Handford 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment, and Lieutenant Everard Francis Sale Handford 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby) Regiment, were killed in the same action. His son John Henry Becher fell in the Second World War.

Nottingham Evening Post 16th September 1915.

Nottingham Evening Post 21st September 1915.

Buried/Commemorated : Abbeville Communal Cemetery, France. Plot 3, Row D, Grave 14.

Abbeville Communal Cemetery, France.
Becher grave

Major Beecher is also commemorated on the following memorials:-

Southwell Minster Parishioners War Memorial, Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Southwell Parishioner war memorial

Southwell Minster Churchyard, Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Becher Cross


Becher cross detail

Southwell Minster Window, Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Holy Trinity Church War Memorial, Southwell, Nottinghamshire.

Notts County Council Employees War Memorial (Galleries of Justice), Nottingham.

Nottinghamshire Law Society War Memorial, Nottingham County Court, Nottinghamshire.