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John was born in Wolverhampton in 1881, the son of Henry and Emily Lee. On 4 July 1904, he married Florence Terry at St Paul’s Church, Wolverhampton, and they had five children – Thomas Henry (1904), Florence Elizabeth (1906), John Henry (1909), Lizzie (1911), Nellie (1914), Emily (1919) and Henry (1922). They were living at 7 Noakes Buildings in 1911, and John was an enamel worker at a cycle works.

On 1 December 1914, he enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 16226). His trade was given as iron labourer. He first served in France from 25 May 1915. He was wounded on 20 April 1917. He later transferred to the Royal Defence Corps (number 68776). He survived the war and died in Wolverhampton in 1943.