John lived in Edinburgh. He arrived in France with No 2 Casualty Clearing Station on the 19th August 1914. He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, when serving with No 10 Casualty Clearing Station "For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during active operations. He was often on continuous duty for seventy-two hours. By the splendid example he has shown he was able to get the maximum amount of energy and efficiency from all other ranks, which was essential for the successful handling of large numbers of wounded."