John was born in Wolverhampton in 1891, the son of Sarah Griffiths. He was living with his widowed mother at 141 Deanes Road, Heath Town, Wolverhampton, in 1901, together with his brothers Noah and William and sister Elizabeth. He worked at the Weldless Tube Works in Wednesfield, but was presumably not working there when war broke out as his name is not listed on their Roll of Honour.
John enlisted with the 1st/6th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment (service number 1868), first serving in France from 5 March 1915. He was killed in action at Hill 60 on 23 September 1915, and this was announced in the Midland Counties Express on 16 October 1915. By this date, his mother’s address was given as No 1, Prestwood Road, Heath Town. He is buried at Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery in Belgium, and remembered on the Heath Park memorial.