The son of Henry and Ann Harris, John was born in Walsall in 1868. In 1891, he was a general labourer living with his parents at 442 Old Pleck Road, Walsall, along with his siblings Annie and Lizzie. He later moved to apartments in Trysull Road, Bradmore, Wolverhampton, and worked at the “Finishing” Department at Sunbeam Motor Works.
On the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the 7th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 9785). He first served in the Balkans from 21 July 1915. However, he was wounded at Gallipoli and died of his wounds on 8 September 1915. An article in the Midland Counties Express on 9 October 1915 stated that he was “a splendid soldier, always willing to assist in any undertaking, no matter how difficult it might be.” He is commemorated in the Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery in Egypt.