John had been born in Bramhall, the son of James and Elizabeth. By the time of the Great War, the family was living at 104 Hilldrop Terrace, Stockport Road, Marple and John was working locally at Hollins Mill. He enlisted into the army shortly after War was declared and undertook his training as a member of the South Lancashire Regiment (service number 5173). On completion, he was reassigned to the Machine Gun Corps.
On the day he was killed, John and his comrades were in trenches near the French village of Morchies. It was the last day of a tour of duty and the men will have been looking forward to a period in reserve and, perhaps, the chance of a bath.
During the afternoon, a British plane was shot down and it crashed near to the Company's position within the British lines. To make sure, it was entirely destroyed, the German artillery started to shell the area. Unfortunately, one of the shells made a direct hit on the dug-out where John and the other members of his machine gun team were sheltering. He and two comrades, Frederick Clarke and James Fillingham, were killed.
An examination of Royal Flying Corps casualties suggests that the aeroplane was an FE2b fighter/bomber from 18 Squadron. It was piloted by 2nd Lieutenant G H Dinsmore who was engaged in combat with enemy aircraft and was shot down at Pronville - just 2 miles away from where John was. The observer/machine gunner was 2nd Lieutenant G B Bate. Bate was killed and is also buried at Queant Road Cemetery. Dinsmore survived the incident and the War. Leutnant K Wolff, of Jasta 11, claimed the "kill" at 4pm. Wolff shot down a total of 33 aircraft before being killed on 15 September 1917.
Further information about John, including a photograph, can be found in the book "Remembered" by P Clarke, A Cook and J Bintliff.