Mansfield Coal Miner to Chelsea Pensioner

John (Jack) Higginbottom - Date unknown

John (Jack) Mayhew Higginbottom was born on 4th June 1908 in Doe Lea, Derbyshire, he was the 5th son of Henry and Charlotte Higginbottom.

Henry and Charlotte had a large family and they moved to Forest Town near Mansfield  in 1915  living in Second Avenue. Henry was a coal miner and it is safe to assume he worked at Mansfield (Crown Farm) Colliery.

John (Jack) along with some of his brothers and sisters went to the village school in Forest Town, from where he left in July 1921 to start work at Mansfield Colliery. He stayed there until after the 1926 strike and in October 1927 joined the Royal Artillery, enlisting at Nottingham and doing his basic training at Woolwich.

In the army he trained as a Physical Training Instructor and his military career consisted of 3 years in the Royal Artillery, 12 years with the Army Physical Training Staff and 4 years with the Indian Army Pioneer Corp.(15 Punjab).  His military service saw him in places such  Assam, Khyber, Burma, Bengal and Jalna. He also learnt to speak URDU.

He rose to the rank of Acting Major and his medals included the 1939/45 Star, and the Burma Star.

He left the army in 1946/7 and began a civilian career, first as a Remedial Gymnast at Pinderfield Hospital, then with the Admiralty Constabulary, and later the  Atomic Energy Constabulary. Then after a short period running a boarding house he eventually retired in 1969.

John (Jack) Higginbottom eventually joined the Royal Chelsea Pensioners in 1986, and his sister from Forest Town often went to visit him.

This former miner from Mansfield (Crown Farm) Colliery certainly had an interesting life once he left the coal dust behind, a life that ended wearing the proud and colourful uniform of a Chelsea Pensioner.

He died in 1995.



Mrs E. S…. (sister)

The Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Census Returns



Comments about this page

  • I now have papers to show that my husband’s grandfather, Richard Mitchell Cooper gave his wife’s address as 11 Eighth Avenue, Forest Town when he joined the Notts and Derbys in September 1914. The wife was Penelope Cooper, and they had 2 sons. The elder son John would have been 2 years old at that time and the younger son, Richard Cledwyn birth had been registered in Pontypridd in July 1914. The whole family was Welsh.
    Richard Cledwyn was certified dead January 1922 aged 7.
    years. The death was registered by J Higginbottom. My apologies for the inaccuracies in my first note.

    By Rebecca Cooper (05/02/2019)
  • My father-in-law and his brother were fostered as children, from a Welsh mining , to a family in Mansfield some little time before 1922 .
    The younger boy died aged 7 years in Jan 1922 after this fostering arrangement began.
    The death was registered by a J. Higginbottom of 11-8th Avenue, Forest Town, and the same address was given for the child, so it seems likely that this was the family that took in the 2 boys.
    At the time, 1922, the older boy would have been 9.
    Interestingly, the chelsea pensioner referred to above would have been 4 years older than this, but both boys joined the Royal Artillary…perhaps together?
    I would be very interested to hear from anyone who can add to this information, and/or confirm the link.

    By Rebecca Cooper (13/10/2018)
  • Think this gentleman is related to me my granddads name was Henry Higginbotham from Forest Town 

    By ANTHONY BROOKS (26/03/2016)
  • Thanks for this, I knew Jack Higginbottom in the 70s and 80s when he lived in the next street to me in Culcheth near Warrington.

    By Simon Sutcliffe (12/12/2013)

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