John was educated at Guy's Hospital, where he took the diplomas of L.D.S., R.C.S. (Eng) in 1912 and of M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P. (Lond.) in 1914. He took a commission as lieutenant in the Special Reserve of the R.A.M.C. on 7th October 1914, and was promoted to Capt on 7th April 1915. According to his MIC he entered the war in Egypt on 1st June 1915. He died from typhus whilst serving at No 1 Egypt Detention Hospital. John was the son of John Walter and Mary Smith Stabb Cocks of Warburton, Springfield Road, Torquay.