J. was one of six children. His mother died a few months after giving birth to his youngest sister in 1900. His father was a soldier and at the time of his child's birth and wife's death he was in South Africa fighting in the Boer War. After their mother's death the children were looked after for a while by their grandparents, but they were too old to do this for long. The Soldiers and Sailors Families Association arranged to have the children boarded out in the village of Charwelton. Three couples living in cottages in the village each took 2 children and the children were well cared for. The villagers were generous towards them and they settled happily. In June 1902 their father returned to England and shortly afterwards received his discharge from the army. He came to the village and did a little hay-making but was unable to find any further work. He left for London promising to send money for the children but nothing was forthcoming and the conclusion was reached that he had deserted his family.
The Vicar of Charwelton and his wife tried to find permanent homes for the children. They were reluctant to send them to the Workhouse and so applied to various Homes. The youngest child would probably be adopted. The Waifs and Strays' Society agreed to take J. He was sent to St Giles Home, Wrexham in December 1902. There is little information on the file about J's time in the Home. In January 1910 the Honorary Secretary of the Home informed the Revd Edward Rudolf that J. wished to be a soldier and requested that he be transferred to the Gordon Boys Home in Woking. This Home was not run by the Waifs and Strays' Society but they sent many boys there with a view to them entering the armed forces. J. was accepted for the Home and went there on 1 March 1910 with a brief stopover at the Islington Boys Home on the way. He achieved his ambition of becoming a soldier and joined the 1st Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. Unfortunately he died at the Depot,. Agra, India on 24 October 1914. The cause of his death is not given. When writing to his sister in 1916 the Waifs and Strays' Society reported that he "was hoping to go to Europe with his Battalion [presumably to fight in France in the First World War] but died before he was able to do so."