John is thought to have been a regular soldier or an ex-regular recalled to service when War was declared in August 1914, although he is known to have not gone overseas until the following January. His later service in Belgium suggests he was serving with 2nd Battalion
In March 1915, John and his comrades were fighting near the Belgian town of Ypres. In the flat land of Flanders, even slightly higher areas gave considerable observational advantage to troops and there was considerable fighting around a spot known as "Hill 60". This was a small man-made rise formed from spoil when a nearby railway was built in the middle of the 19th century. John is known to have been wounded here, when he was hit in the back by a piece of shrapnel. He was invalided home and spent some time at Lincoln Hospital.
He had a month's leave back in Stockport , at the family home at 6 Longshut View, Thomas Street. Whilst back home, he married Emily Kelly on 5 May 1915 in a civil ceremony.
He was then attached to the 3rd (reserve) Battalion at Cleethorpes and then Stallingborough whilst waiting to be reassigned to a fighting Battalion. He was probably due to go back on active service and was given another short period of leave. He arrived home again on 17 September.
In the early morning of the 23rd, Mrs Grimes realised that he had died in bed next to her. He had suffered heart failure whilst sleeping. His death certificate records it as "cardiac dilatation". Due to the sudden death an inquest was held which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to know if it was due to natural causes or if as a result of his wounds. Emily had become pregnant during the few days that John was home and gave birth to Mary in June 1916 - just two weeks after she remarried. Her new husband was William Dean Sherratt, one of John's ex-comrades.
(Updated: February 2008. My thanks to a descendent of John for information supplied. JH)