1. Memorial:Freemasons VC Memorial Great Queen Street
2. Book:Beyond The Five PointsPgs 243-246

Awards & Titles:

Victoria Cross
Companion of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael & St. George
Distinguished Service Order

Education & Career :

John (also called “Jack”) attended the Queenstown Grammar School, Dale College in King William’s Town and St Andrew’s College in Grahamstown. At school John was keener on the outdoor activities such as horse riding and boxing, in which he excelled, than school work. During this period John first lost his mother, with whom he had a very close relationship, when he was only 12 and a year later in 1893 he lost his twin brother Hubert in a riding accident.

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: Norfolk Regiment 

Action : War Survivor 

Although many perished in times of national conflict and in the service of their country, many more survived including those interned as Prisoners of War. Stories of those who did survive are included as part of this site, especially those with high gallantry awards, those included against an external rolls of honour and those who had a distinguished career in wartime and military leaderhip.

Detail :

For a comprehensive biography see VC Online.
See also: Royal Irish.
See also: UGLE post on Facebook.

Citations & Commemorations :

  On 20 November 1917 during the Battle of Cambrai at Marcoing, France when a party of men were held upon the near side of a canal by heavy rifle fire, Lieutenant Colonel Sherwood Kelly at once ordered covering fire, personally led his leading company across the canal and then reconnoitered, under heavy fire, the high ground held by the enemy. He took a Lewis gun team, forced his way through obstacles and covered the advance of his battalion, enabling them to capture the position. Later he led a charge against some pits from which heavy fire was coming, capturing five machine-guns and 46 prisoners.

“For most conspicuous bravery and fearless leading when a party of men of another unit detailed to cover the passage of the canal by his battalion were held up on the near side of the canal by heavy rifle fire directed on the bridge. Lt.-Col. Sherwood-Kelly at once ordered covering fire, personally led the lea-ding company of his battalion across the canal and, after crossing, reconnoitered under heavy rifle and machine gun fire the high ground held by the enemy.

"The left flank of his battalion advancing to- the assault of this objective was held up by a thick belt of wire, whereupon he crossed to that flank, and with a Lewis gun team, forced his way under heavy fire through obstacles, got the gun into position on the far side, and covered the advance of his battalion through the wire, thereby enabling them to capture the position. Later, he personally led a charge against some pits from which a heavy fire was being directed on his men, captured the pits, together with five machine guns and forty-six prisoners, and killed a large number of the enemy.

"The great gallantry displayed by this officer throughout the day inspired the greatest confidence in his men, and it was mainly due to his example and devotion to duty that his battalion was enabled to capture and hold their objective.”

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Authors No. 3456 E.C.London

26th October 1926
27th November 1926
19th January 1927

John cannot be found in the on-line records which are only available up until 1921 via Ancestry. His absence in the 1910-1921 register, noting that Author's Lodge was consecrated in 1910, leads to the conclusion that he was initiated between 1921 and the time of his death in 1931.

Source :

The project globally acknowledges the following as sources of information for research across the whole database:

Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-11-28 07:01:57