John Massey was born in 1887 in Wolverhampton, the son of Thomas and Fanny Massey. He attended St Paul’s School in Merridale Street. In 1901, they were living at 10 Noakes Buildings, Penn Road, together with John’s five sisters – Alice, Emma, Fanny, Lizzie and Polly. John was listed as an errand boy. At some point he married a lady called Elizabeth, but as there are a number of possibilities I have been unable to narrow this down.
He enlisted with the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment and was awarded the Military Medal “for conspicuous bravery on the field”. Shortly afterwards, on 7 September 1916, he was killed in action, being killed by a shell while conducting his men to a place of safety. His lieutenant wrote a letter to Mrs Massey (it is not clear whether this is his mother or his wife), stating that he was a brave solider, “dutiful and always working for the interest of his men.” He is commemorated at the Euston Road Cemetery, Colincamps, France, as well as possibly on the St Pauls’ Church memorial.