William Driver, a hatter, and Harriett Crompton married in the mid 1880s at St Mark's Church, Bredbury. John was their first child and like his younger sister, Hannah, was born in Newton, near Hyde. The family moved to Stockport, then Bredbury before settling at John's Place in Romiley by 1901 when the national census was taken. John and Hannah now had five younger siblings - Herbert, Jane, Ada, Wilfred and Elizabeth. Fourteen year old John had left school and was working in the stores of a local hatworks. In 1906, he married Ethel Gee at Holy Trinity, Gee Cross. The couple came to live in Woodley - probably at 10 Quarry Street, where Ethel is known to have lived in the early 1920s.
On 18 September, two brigades of troops attacked German positions near the French village of Gouzeaucourt. On the left of the attack, the leading battalions were the 14th and 16th Welsh Fusiliers. John and his comrades were a little way to the rear ready to act as support for both battalions. It proved to be a difficult attack but the leading battalions secured their objectives in "African Trench". The men of the 13th now moved forward to reinforce them.
At about 6.30am on the 19th, the Germans counter-attacked them and the Fusiliers were forced to withdraw. After re-organising, men from the 13th and 14th moved forward again, through the trench system, throwing grenades in front them to clear the way. Later in the day, the men of the 13th managed to get back into African Trench and secure it.