John was just 22 years old when he was fighting in World War One as a member of the South Lancashire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Volunteers).
On 24th March 1918 near Eppeville in France his troop was under heavy fire from Germans. They were ordered to withdraw immediately. They were hemmed, outflanked on both sides and the only route open to them was through a deep stream choked with barbed wire. To enable his peers to retreat John mounted the parapet so he was in full view of the enemy and kept his finger on the trigger on his Lewis gun until the last bullet was discharged. He caused many enemy casualties but miraculously remained unscathed. All the while his troops were able to get across the river to safety.
News got back to England that he had died at his gun and his parents were devastated to be given official news of their son’s death. John was posthumously awarded a Victoria Cross for his bravery but two months later news came though that John wasn’t dead in a field or forest but had been taken prisoner.
On 5th April 1919 at Buckingham Palace King George V pinned a Victoria Cross on John’s chest.
During World War II he was a captain in the Home Guard. He died at home in St Helens aged 60 and his buried here at St Helens Cemetery, Windle, Merseyside.
There he is on the far right…