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John was born in Wolverhampton in 1894, the son of Thomas and Sarah Ann Blackham. In 1911, they were at 68 Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton, together with John’s siblings Clara, Robert and Florence. John was an Iron Heater at Chillington Tool Works.

John enlisted initially in the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 241526, before transferring to the 9th Battalion of the King’s (Liverpool) Regiment (number 350096). He was killed in action on 31 July 1917 in Belgium. He is commemorated at the Potijze Burial Ground Cemetery in Belgium.