John Owen Iles was born in Leamington on 18 May 1893, the only son of Mr John Cyril Iles (who became H. M. Divisional Inspector of Schools) and Mrs Enid Agnes Machell Iles of Endhall, Tettenhall Wood. He went to school at Lockers Park, in Rugby. His father was taken ill in the summer of 1915 and died after an operation on 27 July that year, at the age of only 49.
An undergraduate at Cambridge when war broke out, Iles received a commission in the 6th South Staffordshire Regiment (Territorial Force), and in May 1915 was given a commission in the Regular Army. He rose to become Lieutenant, and was later attached to the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He was killed in action during the Battle of Loos in France on 25 September 1915. An article including the above photograph appears in the scrapbook of First World War cuttings held at Wolverhampton Archives. His death was also noted in an article (together with a different photograph) in the Express & Star on 7 October 1915. Finally he appears in the list of local officers who have died, which was published in the Express & Star on 22 September 1916.
John Owen Iles is the only man named on the Christ Church Memorial in Tettenhall Wood, although the memorial goes on to commemorate “all the men from this parish who died for England”. The memorial was dedicated on Sunday 21 April 1918 by the Lord Bishop of Lichfield. According to the article in the Express & Star on 17 April 1918, the memorial included a “tablet reserved for the names of the complete roll of honour”, but it appears that this was never compiled. A full write-up of the dedication service appeared in the Express & Star on 22 April 1918. There was a large congregation in the church, including officers and men of the 4th Battalion Staffordshire Volunteer Regiment, and the vicar read a list of the men from the parish who had died.