John was the son of Joseph and Anna Wild, 38 Lancaster Street, Portwood, Stockport. In 1895, he married Geraldine Sale at St Mary's Church. They set up home at 69 Lord Street and, in 1901, when a Census was taken, they had two children - Harriett (5) and Marion (3). John worked as a labourer in a foundry and, living with them at the time, was an older relative called William Wild, who did similar work.
John's service number suggests he probably enlisted into the army in the late autumn of 1914 or early in 1915. He will have gone overseas with the newly formed 8th Battalion in September 1915.
On 4 January 1916, John and his comrades were in trenches near Ploegsteert, south of Ypres, when the enemy opened up an artillery bombardment on their positions. The Regimental History recounts "It is estimated that about 500 shells of all calibres fell on the position held by the 8th Battalion, it's HQ having a particularly hot time. The orderly room staff had a series of marvellous escapes, although everybody was continually smothered in dust and mud thrown up by the bursting shells." Miraculously, no-one seems to have been killed although several, including John, were wounded. It was later reported in the Stockport Advertiser that he had received a gunshot wound to the head, but it is much more likely that it was a piece of shrapnel.
John would have been treated by the Battalion Medical Officer and he would then have been evacuated to a field hospital. There his condition would have been stabilised and he is then known to have been moved a hospital in Etaples on the Channel coast. Presumably, at some later point, he was moved to hospital in Britain.
Research would indicate that John's wounds were so severe that he never fully recovered and was able to return to his unit. Over two years later, he died of pneumonia whilst undergoing treatment.
In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Geraldine had remarried and was now Mrs Roberts. She was living at 1 Garnett Street, in the Hillgate area of Stockport.