John Besford was born in 1890, the son of Thomas Besford and Elizabeth Besford (née Train). The 1891 Census records John aged 7 months and living with his parents at 5 Croft Street, Cowpen, Blyth, Northumberland.
Radcliffe was a mining community in Northumberland, located 1 km south of the town of Amble. Radcliffe was once home to over 700 people. It was an independent and self-sufficient settlement with its own schools, shops, churches and working men’s club.