The son of Councillor Edwin and Ann Blakemore, John was born in Wolverhampton in 1881. He attended the Wolverhampton Higher Grade School. In 1901, he was living with his parents at 7-10 Salop Street, Wolverhampton, along with siblings Charles, Walter, Beatrice, Annie, and Agnes. He was an electric metallurgist. By 1911, he was living at 23 The Cedars, Paget Road, Wolverhampton, with his widowed mother, Ann, and sister, Agnes Mary. John was an Electro-plater (General). For a couple of years he was captain of the Old Wulfrunians Football Club. In 1911 John enlisted in the Wolverhampton Battery North Midland Royal Field Artillery (T.F.). He resigned from the force in April 1914, but volunteered again for active service when war broke out, becoming a Lieutenant.
He was promoted to Captain in August 1915, and then Major in April 1917, being put in charge of a Royal Field Artillery Brigade. He was twice mentioned in despatches. After the British victory on the Menin Road, his family received news that he had been dangerously wounded, and he died on 5 October 1917, one hundred years ago today. Had he lived another week, he would have been entitled to the six months’ home duty granted to officers who have served continuously at the front for two years and over without sick leave. On his death, the value of his effects was £1180 11s. The Express & Star carried the story of his death on 8 October 1917. On 19 April 1918, the same newspaper announced that he had been posthumously awarded the Military Cross for the following services:
SOMME OFFENSIVE, 1916
For continuous excellent service whilst in command of 43rd Battery, R.F.A. Has been most successful in spotting active hostile trench mortars and in silencing them. Has frequently cut wire with success whilst observing from difficult positions. His reports on hostile fire and intelligence generally are most reliable and of great value. He has trained his Howitzer Battery to a high state of efficiency, and fought it with marked success.”