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John was born in Portobello, Willenhall, in about 1892, the son of Thomas and Elizabeth Ann Hill. His father, Thomas, died in 1897, and his mother remarried, to a Richard Ford, in 1898. So, by 1901, John was living with his mother, step-father and sister Sarah Ann at Court 10, New Street, Portobello. The family were at 76 Moseley Village, Willenhall Road, by 1911, by which date Richard and Elizabeth had had three children – Edwin, Lilly and Ernest. John (here simply called “Henry”) was a “Stamper (Horse shoe)”.

John enlisted with the 8th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 12274), first serving in France from 1 August 1915. He was wounded and sent back home to England, where he died at the 1st Northern Hospital in Newcastle on Tyne on 21 February 1917, exactly one hundred years ago today. He is buried at the Heath Town (Holy Trinity) churchyard, and commemorated on the Heath Park memorial, as well as on the Deans Road Roll of Honour.