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John was born in about 1882 in Brownhills, Staffordshire, the son of John and Amelia Jordan. By 1901, he was living with his parents at Rose Cottage, Bushbury, Wolverhampton, along with his siblings Ernest F., Alice M., and Constance F. He was working as an auctioneer’s clerk. He married Jane Tattersall in Bushbury on 29 August 1903, and the couple had two children – Constance Gladys (1906) and John Eric Tattersall (1907). By 1911, they were livint at 22 Oxley Bank, Bushbury.

On 19 Feburary 1915, he enlisted in the Army Service Corps (number 065097). His address was again listed as Rose Cottage, Bushbury, and his trade was clerk. John served in France and at home, until he was discharged on 13 August 1919. By then his home address was 31 Sherwood Terrace, Bushbury Lane, Wolverhampton.