John was born on 21st April 1882 to a well-to-do family in Yorkshire: his father was a physician, magistrate and Major, his grandfather had been the chaplain to the Duke of Wellington and his uncle was the vicar of the town of Hawes. He grew up in West Huntingdon Hall, his mother coming from the neighboring Spennithorne Hall. John's father died when he was only two, leaving a sizeable estate of £49,000.
John had a typical childhood for his class of that time and the local newspapers reported him planting a tree for Queen Victoria's jubilee aged 4 and being a page boy at a wedding aged 7 and receiving a gold pheasant pin with ruby eyes.
He served in the 3rd West Yorkshire Regiment during the Boer War and was temporary aide de camp to Lord Congleton. Then, in 1902 he served as 2nd Lieutenant in the 13th Hussars before leaving the army in 1906, when he took up racing as a successful amateur steeplechase rider and breeder of thoroughbred horses. By 1911 he'd moved to King Edward's Place, Wanborough where he was the manager of the stud there. Sporting Life magazine in 1912 reported on his chauffeur-driven journey to Devon and Cornwall to inspect horses and he cut a dashing figure.
At the outbreak of war, he joined the Public School Corps before joining the Cheshire Regiment 13th Battalion, 25th Division, 74th Brigade as Captain in October 1914. He was gazetted Temporary Major in September 1915. His brigade was detached to the 12th (Eastern Division) on 5th July 1916; on the 7th July John was killed, aged 34, at the Battle of Albert, on the Somme leading an attack on the German trenches. His commanding officer wrote to his uncle saying that, "Your nephew died gallantly leading his men in our attack". John left an estate of £11,364 on his death and is buried at Sp. Mem. 24., Ovillers Military Cemetery, Ovillers, Ovillers-la-Boisselle, Departement de la Somme, Picardie, France.
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