John Humfrey Berrisford Rawson was born in Middlesbrough, on 4 December 1929, the second of two sons of Stanley Walter Rawson and Phyllis Adeline, nee Bargate. His father, born in Sheffield, was later knighted for 'services to industry'. The family name has been traced back to Tickhill.
John's brother, the late Philip Stanley Rawson, was a specialist in oriental art and culture, and the author of many books on these subjects. (Obituaries in The Times and Daily Telegraph).
Not of an academic frame of mind, John Rawson attended Horris Hill Schoool, near Newbury, and Shrewsbury School. For three years he worked on a farm, at a time when farm-work was not mechanised, and thereafter he worked in a London bank and later in the office of an electricity authority.
Always interested in social insects, he commenced beekeeping at the age of 16, and by the age of 31 had enough hives of bees to set up in the business of honeybee-farming - an occupation which he has followed ever since. He was elected Chairman of the Bee Farmers Association of the United Kingdom and served for two years in that post. He also served for two years as Vice Chairman and as a Committee Member. He became a member of the Bee Husbandry Committee of the British Beekeepers Association, and has been Vice President of Salisbury And District Beekeepers Association.
At 23, he married Pamela Deidre Richmond, by whom he had two sons. There is also an adopted daughter.
John Rawson has had many short poems published in various nationally-circulated poetry magazines, including Candelabrum, Envoi, Wayfarers, Orbis International and Poetry Nottingham. In 2004 his poem Giraffes won the Wiltshire Libraries Association prize for best humorous poem.
In June 2005, two volumes of John Rawson's poetry were published by Bedeguar Books. These were From The English Countryside, Tales Of Humour and From The English Countryside, Tales Of Tragedy. Each was a splendid collection of stories told in the form of traditional narrative verse.
2008 saw the publication by Northern Bee Books of The World Of A Bee Farmer by John Rawson, an enjoyable account of some of his experiences arising from over 60 years of beekeeping.
John Rawson has recently assembled all his poems (over 180 in number) in a collection he calls A Music Of Words, Poems Of An English Bee Farmer. He is currently writing a humorous novel.