John was born on 4th March 1878 in Walton on Thames, Surrey to parents William and Emily (Cutler) and baptised on 12th May of the same year.
Aged three on the 1881 census he lived with his 5 siblings, parents and 4 other members of his extended family (Aunt’s family) along with his grandparents in their home on the High Street at Walton on Thames. 10 years later John, aged 13 still lived with his widowed mother, grandparents and siblings at Cottimore Lane, Walton. He had left school and worked as a part time errand boy at a fishmongers.
He had a long and dedicated service record with the Navy which began at HMS IMPREGNABLEas a Boy 2nd Class on 23rd January 1895 for 5 days duration, giving him the opportunity to do something with his life, with better pay - it seemed more enticing than the errand boy job he left. He was recorded as 5’5” tall with black hair and hazel eyes. All of his Navy records give his year of birth as 1879, but civil records prove otherwise.
HMS GANGES - 29/01/1895 - 23/01/1896, rising to Boy 1st Class on 31/10/1895
HMS BOSCAWEN - 24/01/1895 - 02/06/1896
HMS MERSEY - 03/06/1896 - 29/11/1896
HMS THESEUS - 30/11/1896 - 10/05/1897, rising to Ordinary Seaman on his 18th Birthday, 4th March 1897. It was from this date that his 12 years “official” service would begin.
HMS CRUISER - 11/05/1897 - 25/05/1897
HMS THESEUS - 26/05/1897 - 19/07/1897
HMS PEMBROKE I - 20/07/1897 - 12/08/1897
HMS GALATEA- 13/08/1897 - 24/05/1898
HMS CHAMPION - 25/05/1898 - 24/10/1898
HMS PEMBROKE I - 25/10/1898 - 16/01/1899
HMS PEGASUS - 17/01/1899 - 17/08/1900
HMS SAPPHO - 18/08/1900 - 18/09/1901, it was for his service aboard the SAPPHO that he earnt the Queen’s South Africa Medal, number 6335. He was also aboard during the 1901 census where it was anchored at Delagoa Bay, in the Cape of Good Hope.
HMS PEMBROKE - 19/09/1901 - 25/10/1901, rising to Able Seaman on 15/11/1900
HMS EXCELLENT - 26/10/1901 - 01/04/1902
HMS VERNON - 02/04/1902 - 30/06/1902
HMS PEMBROKE - 01/07/1902 - 21/09/1902
HMS ANSON - 22/09/1902 - 30/06/1903
HMS SAPPHO - 01/07/1903 - 30/04/1905
HMS SPEEDWELL - 01/05/1905 - 17/11/1905
HMS JASON - 18/11/1905 - 12/02/1906
HMS PEMBROKE - 13/02/1906 - 23/02/1906
HMS ACTAEON - 24/02/1906 - 18/05/1906
HMS PEMBROKE I & II - 19/05/1906 - 31/05/1907
HMS ACTAEON - 01/06/1907 - 04/05/1908
HMS CORMORANT - 05/05/1908 - 24/05/1910
HMS CRESCENT - 25/05/1910 - 09/06/1910
HMS PEMBROKE - 10/06/1910 - 09/09/1910
HMS VERNON - 10/09/1910 - 24/03/1911
HMS PEMBROKE I - 25/03/1911 - 24/04/1911, recorded at the Chatham Barracks during the 1911 census
HMS AFRICA - 25/04/1911 - 04/03/1912
HMS LONDON - 05/03/1912 - 28/11/1913
HMS VANGUARD - 29/11/1913 - 09/07/1917
He was also awarded the Star, Victory Medal, British War Medals which were claimed by his mother.
John is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
(#280 - 385/843)
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - Free BMD
Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912 Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: 2381/4/3
1881, 1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census
Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 305
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: 008 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 0845
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 53
Surrey Herald and Middlesex News
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 105