John was born in Wolverhampton in 1897, the son of John and Charlotte McCarthy. In 1901, they were living at 24 Lawyer’s Field, Wolverhampton, along with siblings Mary Ann and Thomas. They were at the same address in 1911, with a further two siblings, Kathleen and Charlotte. Apparently John was employed on the railway at some point, but I have not been able to confirm that.
At the outbreak of war, John enlisted in the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (number 9833), first serving in France from 17 December 1914. He was killed in action on 18 March 1915 at the age of only 17, and is remembered at the Rue-du-Bois Military Cemetery, Fleurbaix. An announcement of his death appeared in the Express & Star on 10 April 1915.