John was born in 1886 in Radcliffe, Lancashire. His father was called John William and his mother was Sarah. He was their eldest child; his siblings were Annie, Lucy, William Arthur and Alice.
In 1891 John senior worked as a carter and the family lived at 5 Park Street in Prestwich, near Manchester. Ten years later they had moved to 12 Bury Old Road in the town. John had begun to work as a commercial clerk.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and like thousands of other men John and William decided to join one of the 'Pals' battalions being formed to allow the men of Manchester to fight together.
We know William enlisted on the 7th September 1914 and was given the service number 18/10022. John's service number was 18/10021 so they almost certainly enlisted together. They joined the 3rd City Battalion, which later became the 18th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. John and William were both assigned to I Platoon in A Company.
John and the 18th Battalion trained at Heaton Park in Manchester until April 1915, when they moved to Belton Park in Grantham, Lincolnshire. In September they moved to Larkhill in Wiltshire before sailing to France on the 8th November.
We believe that John first saw front line service in January 1916. He then served near the villages of Suzanne, Bray and Maricourt during the first half of 1916. The 18th Battalion took part in the attacks on the first day of the Somme Offensive, the 1st July 1916. It captured the village of Montauban from the Germans.
The Battalion of 900 lost around 350 men killed, wounded or missing that day. John was not one of them, but William was. He was 26 years old when he was killed.
John continued to serve with the 18th Battalion through the rest of the Somme Offensive, which lasted until November 1916.
At some point John was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry and given the service number 93306. This number suggests he joined them in at the very end of the war in November 1918, if not later. We don't know which battalion he served with.
John survived the war, but the rest of his life remains a mystery. William's grave was never found, so his name is one of 72203 commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France. William's name is on Pier 13 Face A or Pier 14 Face C.
John's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in July 2008. As well as his 1914-15 Star, John was also awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.