On 16th November 1914 John enlisted with the Royal Engineers. At this time he would have been almost 35 years old.
The Royal Engineers maintained the railways, roads, water supply, bridges and transport, as well as all comuniciations including the telephones, wireless and other signalling equipment.
John served with B Company of the 1st Reserve Battalion. He was in England until January 1916, when he was sent to Albert, France with the Field Company 55th Division of the Royal Engineers. John may have seen action in the Battles of Ypres, at Menin Road, Poelkapelle or Passchendaele.
On 10th February 1917 John returned to England, for treatment in a hospital in Manchester. In April that year John returned to his depot, but was unable to continue with his duties, due to shortness of breath and chest problems, aggrevated by the conditions at the Front.
After a medical in August 1917 which recommended a discharge as he was permanently unfit, John was discharged on 3rd September 1917, deemed ‘no longer physically fit for War Service’. John had served for two years and 292 days with one year and 27 days with the British Expeditionary Force abroad.