John Bertram Greenup was born on 10 March 1898 at Alburgh, Norfolk. His birth certificate registers his name as ‘John Bartram’.
His parents were the Revd Dr Albert William and Evelyn Helen Greenup (née Heron). Albert was a ‘Clerk in Holy Orders’ (Church of England clergyman).
He was the second of four children, the eldest son: Evelyn Irene, John Bertram, Ruth Beryl and Basil William.
In the 1901 census he was aged 3 years and living at St John’s Hall, Highbury, Islington, where his father was Principal of the Highbury College of Divinity. In the 1911 Census, aged 13, he continues to be listed as living at St John’s Hall.
John was educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and Wadham College, Oxford, where he was a Hebrew Scholar. In June 1916 he passed his Responsions – the first of the three examinations required by Oxford to qualify for an academic degree.
Sometime prior to 1915 the family had a second residence at Heath End, Tadley. They named the house, appropriately, St John’s, a name that it still retains today. John’s parents and sister, Evelyn, remained in Heath End until they died. They are all buried in St Peter’s churchyard, Tadley.
John was unmarried.
Whilst he was at Merchant Taylors’ School John joined the Army Cadet Force and continued to serve whilst he was at Wadham College, Oxford. His attestation papers show he enlisted at St Pancras on 15 May 1916 (whilst still a student) and was posted to Winchester on 4 August 1916 where he served in the 20th Training Reserve Battalion. At the time of his enlistment he was 18 years 2 months of age, 5 feet 11.5 inches high and he weighed 9 stone 10 pounds. Between 30 August and 18 November 1916 John served as a corporal/lance corporal. John was granted a commission on 25 April 1917 and served as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade (The Prince Consort’s Own) attached to the 1st Battalion.
John served with the Rifle Brigade in France and Flanders from June 1917. In 1917 the brigade was at the Battle of Arras (9 April – 16 May), before heading north for the Third Battle of Ypres (31 July – 10 November), where it saw action in the Battle of Polygon Wood (28 September – 3 October), the Battle of Broodseinde, (4 October) the Battle of Poelcappelle (9 October) and the First Battle of Passchendaele (12 October).
John was killed in action near Poelcappelle in Belgium on Saturday 13 October 1917, aged 19.
He is commemorated on Tyne Cot Memorial [Panel 145-7], Tyne Cot Cemetery, Belgium.
He is remembered on Tadley and Baughurst War Memorials and in St Peter’s Church, Tadley where there is a plaque to his memory. The inscription reads: ‘The panelling of this chancel was inserted to the Glory of God and in the Memory of John Bertram Greenup. Scholar of Wadham College Oxford. 2nd Lieut The Rifle Brigade. Who fell in action near Poelcappelle October 13th 1917. Aged 19 years.’.
He is also remembered on the Merchant Taylors’ School Roll of Honour and Wadham College, Oxford, War Memorial.
John was awarded the Victory medal and the British War medal. These would have been sent to his family.