John hailed from Australia and after education at the school he became a driver. He enlisted as a Private in the Auckland Regiment, joining the 2nd Battalion. On enlistment he gave Mrs M Cooper of 15 Yelverton Terrace, Auckland, as his next of kin. After training, he embarked from Wellington on the 6th of May, 1916, as part of HMNZT 53, as part of the 3rd reinforcement to the 3rd Battalion. He is believed to have sailed on the SS.Navua owned by the Union Steamship Company of New Zealand. The vessel arrived in Suez on the 21st of July, 1916.
After further transport to the Western Front John served on the Somme and was killed in action on Monday the 2nd of October, 1916. This was near the end the battle of the Somme near Flers. The 2nd of October was a day of strong wind and tempestuous rain. The Second Auckland had heavy casualties. This was near the junction of Goose Alley and the Gird System to the L'Eaucourt-Abbaye road. German artillery fire was heavy, particularly around Battalion headquarters. 2nd Auckland carried out an attack with the Canterbury regiment, which was successful. John has no known grave and is commemorated on the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial, Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, Longueval, Somme, France.