Jack Terresfield was born in London in 1892 to Samuel and Sarah (nee Weinstein). He had two brothers and four sisters – Joseph Terresfield, Isaac Terresfield “Harry”, Bluma Terresfield “Florence”, Rose Terresfield, Nellie Terresfield, and Lily Terresfield.
When he was about fourteen, ‘Jack’ made several musical appearances that were reviewed in the local paper. The Brighton Herald described a concert that took place at the Hove Academy of Music at 22 Church Road, where he undertook his music studies. It read, ‘Mr Quirke has a brilliant violin pupil in Master Jacob Terresfield. The performance was greeted with an enthusiastic encore.’ It is also said that he attended Brighton College of Music.
This talent obviously flourished and he went on to have a very successful musical career although his life was marked by ill health. He had rheumatic fever as a boy and subsequently caught malaria while touring in South Africa. As a result of this, he was not able to serve in the armed forces.
His early career was with the Con Conrads Minstrels and at one time he performed in an act described as ‘Jews in Kilts.’ He teamed up with a very talented pianist, Martin Romaine and they performed as Terris and Romaine, working their way up the bill to become headliners. They performed in very illustrious company even to performing with acclaimed actress Sarah Bernhardt.
His mother diligently collected press cuttings and playbills over the years so that their rise to fame is well documented. His success was demonstrated by his ability to buy for his mother the house at 41 Westbourne Park Road, London in 1918.
The two of them worked prodigiously entertaining wounded soldiers from 1914 until 1918. However, Martin Romaine was conscripted into the army and was killed in France on the 9th April 1917 which must have been a bitter blow to Jack. He did recruit another pianist but kept their name of Terris and Romaine.
While performing in Ireland, Jack contracted Septicaemia and died on the 29th June 1918 at Mosaphir Nursing Home, Maidyke, Cork, Ireland. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Cork in Ireland.
Jack is said to have died from septicaemia. This can be a consequence of influenza and the We Were There Too site suggests that he died of the flu. Possibly he was another victim of the 1918/1919 flu pandemic known as ‘Spanish flu’.