(L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal; Belgian Croix de Guerre / Oorlogskruis
John was born in St Helens, Lancashire. We don't know anything about his family or early life.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and John joined the Manchester Regiment around mid 1916. He was given the service number 41250. We don't know whether he volunteered for service or was conscripted. Towards the end of the war soldiers were sent to any unit that needed men, regardless of local connections.
We don't know much about John's Army service, but by mid 1918 he was serving with the 11th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in the Hulloch area of France. He had been promoted twice and now held the rank of Corporal.
John was awarded the Belgian Croix de Guerre, or Oorlogskruis, on the 12th July 1918. We don't know why he was chosen to receive this medal. Many British soldiers received awards from Allied Governments during the First World War. In some cases British commanders were presented with foreign medals that they could present to soldiers they felt had earned the award; in other cases the soldier was singled out by the foreign government.
By the end of the war John had been promoted again, to Sergeant. He survived the fighting, but the rest of his life is a mystery.