John received his medical education at University College, London, qualifying M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. in 1895. Prior to joining the R.A.M.C. he filled the posts of house-surgeon to the Children's hospital at Wicker, Sheffield, and house-physician to the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield. He then became anaesthetist to the Royal Infirmary, Sheffield, and demonstrator of Anatomy at Sheffield University. On 31st August 1914, just after war broke out, John became Lieutenant Colonel, and the Commanding Officer, of the 3rd West Riding Field Ambulance. He entered the war in France on 14th April 1915, but was twice invalided home suffering from shell shock. He had been undergoing treatment from December 1915 in a military hospital in Lachmere, Ham when he died suddenly. His Medal Index Card states his death was suicide. John was the eldest son of the Rev. Arthur Stokes of Mussoorie, India; and the husband of Mrs Stokes of 124 Crookes, Sheffield.