Jack was born on 25th January 1897 in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Robert and Rhoda, the youngest of three children. He was baptised on 1st March 1897 at Holy Trinity Church, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire, his father then a blacksmith.
On the 1901 census John was aged 4 and recorded with his parents, older sister and older adopted brother, Albert Hardy living at 78 Accrington Road, Burnley. His father had changed occupation and worked on his own account as a newsagent.
10 years later John and his parents still lived at the same address; he was an apprentice shoemaker, aged 14 and their home was still the local newsagency.
John enlisted with the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 4th January 1915, enlisting in Manchester aged 17. He was 5’4” tall with grey eyes and brown hair and was able to swim (tested in Deal).
He remained at the Deal Recruiting Depot until 7th July as a Private, then transferred to Chatham Division from 8th July until 24th September 1915. He embarked the following day to HMS VICTORY RM Brigade, remaining until 22nd November 1916. After a return to Chatham his first and only posting was to the dreadnought HMS VANGUARD 2nd January 1917. In a cruel twist of fate, John had leave due for the day the accident happened, but had generously given it up to a married member of crew. He was 20 years old.
Following his death he was awarded the Star, Victory and British medals.
(#39 - 101/843)
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD
Lancashire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1911
1901 & 1911 England Census
UK, Royal Marines Registers of Service Index, 1842-1925 National Archives
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/7; Scan Number: 0473
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972Class: ADM 171; Piece: 167
WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 028/0110/BRE-BRI
Photo courtesy of British Newspaper Archives