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John Cheese was born on 14 February 1895 in Wolverhampton, the son of John C. and Catherine Cheese. In 1901 he was living with his parents at the back of 190 Wolverhampton Road, Heath Town, along with brothers Thomas E., Albert W., and Frederick D., and sisters Ellen B., Dorothy M. and Catherine. John attended Holy Trinity School in Heath Town. By 1911 they were at 97 Cannock Road, and the 16-year-old John had become a pump fitter. He later worked at the Sunbeam works in Wolverhampton.

On 23 November 1914 he joined the Royal Flying Corps (number 2340) and used his motor fitting skills working at Brooklands aerodrome and at Le Bourget airport in France as an aeroplane fitter. After the War he returned to Sunbeam. In addition to his job as a fitter on their racing cars, he also played football for their works team, as well as semi-professionally for Wellington. He played in the England junior league team in 1921-22.

Once Sunbeam ceased trading, he worked as a fitter first for Butler’s and then for Banks’s Breweries in Wolverhampton until he retired. He died in Wolverhampton in December 1970.