John was born on 11th October 1885, in Whitstable, Kent to parents George and Eliza.
He is first recorded on the 1891 census, aged 6, living at 61 Harbour Street, Whitstable, one of four children. 10 years later, in the 1901 census, he was aged 15 and the eldest of 5 children, living at 1 Emperor Place, Whitstable.
He joined the Royal Navy on 4th December 1906 as a Stoker 2nd Class. He measured 5'9" tall, with light brown hair, blue eyes and a tattoo of clasped hands on his right forearm and "J.M" tattooed on his left forearm.
His service and training continued:-
NATAL - 11/04/1907 - 28/01/1908, rising to Stoker 1st Class
CRESSY - 29/01/1908 - 10/06/1908
PEMBROKE II - 11/06/1908 - 23/06/1908
INDOMITABLE - 24/06/1908 - 20/11/1911 - He was mentioned on the 1911 census, married, with a step son and baby son, living at 7 Flood Lane, Faversham. He married Ada Elsie Batty in March 1909 who already had a son - John Batty. Their first child, William was born the year before.
BLENHEIM - 21/11/1911 - 30/09/1913
EGMONT - 01/10/1913 - 03/11/1913
PEMBROKE II - 04/11/1913 - 05/02/1914
GOLIATH - 06/02/1914 - 28/07/1914
VICTORIOUS - 29/07/1914 - 04/02/1915
PEMBROKE II - 05/02/1915 - 21/02/1916
VICTORIOUS - 22/02/1916 - 28/05/1917
VANGUARD - 29/05/1917 - 09/07/1917
John spent just 41 days aboard the ship before her explosion. By the time of the explosion he and Ada had had another two children, Emily and George.
#234 - 503/843
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
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: 509
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0349
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: 009 (1914 - 1919)
WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; Pension Record Cards; Reference: 132/0615/MCW-MAD
Photo courtesy of Jason Madams