Almost nothing is known about John's background. He was born at Cefn Mawr, near Wrexham but it is such a common name it is impossible to be sure what year. By the time of the Great War, he was living with his mother at 11 Royle Street, in the Higher Hillgate area of Stockport.
It's perhaps unsurprising, considering his Welsh background, that when he enlisted into the army in town he sought to join the local North Wales Regiment - the Welsh Fusiliers. He died of wounds he'd received in action at Bailleul - then an army centre for field hospitals and the more established Stationery Hospitals. As such, it isn't known when he was injured but it is most likely it was within the few days immediately prior to his death.
On 5 June, "C" and "D" Companies relieved the 9th Battalion, Welsh Regiment in the Diependaal sector. Later in the day, men from "C" Company undertook a successful raid on the enemy trenches opposite. They captured several prisoners who were taken back to the British side for interrogation. Several of the raiders were wounded. Hopefully the information proved useful for the forthcoming battle. The next day, "A" and "B" Companies came up to the front line with the other two returning to camp.
The next day saw the major attack which would later be officially called the Battle of Messines. The Fusiliers took part in the advance, capturing 80 prisoners and 5 machine guns, with minimal loss of their own men. The men spent the 8th consolidating their gains and were subjected to intermittent shelling from the Germans.
During the evening of the 9th, the Battalion was relieved from the front line for a short rest but returned the next evening. The War Diary records "very heavy hostile artillery bombardment while the relief was in progress". The shelling continued from long range guns throughout the 11th and 12th and casualties are bound have been suffered. It quietened down, but not completely, on the 13th and 14th.