Nothing is known of John’s early life. He was married to Sarah Ellen (possibly the Sarah Ellen Brindley who married a man of this name at All Saints Church, Heaton Norris in 1905. John worked at a cotton mill as a thread gasser and enlisted into the army in January 1915. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment, joining them on active service on 24 June 1915.
On 3 October 1915, during the latter stages of the Battle of Loos, he was captured and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner. When hostilities ended in November 1918, he was released and returned to the UK. His health had deteriorated as a direct result of captivity and he now suffered from congested lungs and, as described in his service papers, a “weak heart”. He was formally discharged from the army in March 1919, due to his medical condition and, receiving a small pension, returned to live with Sarah in Stockport. He died of his heart condition.
John is not commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the nation’s Debt of Honour Register and this seems to have been an administrative oversight at the time of his death. Men who died, even after discharge, are entitled to have their graves treated as official war graves if the cause of death was attributable to service (assuming they died before August 1921). The Commission and the Ministry of Defence continue to consider names submitted to them acceptance into the Register and John’s death certificate and service papers have now been submitted to them. At the time of writing, in December 2008, a decision is awaited. Assuming John is accepted, attempts will be made to establish where he is buried and his grave will be maintained by the Commission. If necessary, it will erect one of its headstones over the grave.