John was born on the 10th August 1898, in the village of Bilby, Nottinghamshire to parents John and (Susan) Eliza. Father John worked on the nearby Osbertson Estate as a woodman and John Jnr would follow him into employment as a woodcutter before enlisting.
The eldest son of John and Eliza, John was 3 when recorded on the 1901 census, living with his parents, younger brother and two older sisters, along with a boarder, in Bilby Lane. Ten years later the family still lived at Bilby, John Jnr being 12 years old and probably at school.
6 months after the outbreak of war John joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class rating.
His training commenced at the shore based establishment HMS GANGES on 28th January 1915. He was recorded as being 5’7” tall with brown hair and blue eyes, having a scar on his forehand and under his left eye and a birthmark on his right leg.
He rose to Boy 1st Class on 12th May 1915, leaving the same day.
His next posting was to HMS PEMBROKE where he stayed for just one day and was posted to the Battleship HMS VANGUARD on 14th May 1915.
His 18th birthday, 10th August 1915 saw him rise to the rating of Ordinary Seaman but he essentially served during the Battle of Jutland as a Boy.
On the 10th June 1917 his rating rose to an Able Seaman and he would have turned 19 just one month later. This young, likeable lad was awarded the Star, Victory and British medals.
#40 - 255/843
1901 & 1911 England census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 717
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 0191
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War Class: ADM 242; 008 (1914 - 1919)
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 ADM 171; Piece: 100 - National Archives