John, also known as Jack, would have been just 15 years old when war broke out.
It is not known when John enlisted with the 51st Manchester Regiment, but he may have been conscripted. He did write to his mother from Great Yarmouth, promising: ” I will leave you something before I leave England.” Later in the same letter: ” Dear Mother I do not think I will be for this draft but I hope so and the sooner the better”
In another letter home John writes of arriving safely back at Great Yarmouth but continues: “Dear Mother I have not been tried yet so I do not know what I am going to get. I expect a few days pay stopped…Dear Mother there are about 60 absent and five Lance Corporals got stripped.” Does this refer to soldiers going AWOL or returning late from leave?
What is known is that John was transferred to the 2/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. This unit was formed in Burnley in 1914 as a home service unit and after training exercises in Crowborough and Colchester throughout 1915 and 1916. The Battalion landed in Le Havre on 2nd March 1917 with the 2/4th Battalion.
John would have seen action in Battles of the Somme. John was killed in action on 21st March 1918. He was just 19 years old.
John is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial in Somme, France.