Born in Newtongrange , he immigrated to Australia along with his cousin (who also served in the AIF) to the coal mining village of Kurri Kurri in New South Wales, where he would sign up in 1915 and serve his adopted country.
He was killed in action on the 4th October, 1917 in Belgium whilst serving with 3rd Infantry Battalion , AIF. His mother would receive a booklet from the Australian Government "Where the Australians Rest" which was given to the next of kin of those killed in action.
Picture Australian National Archives
Below is a copy of a letter sent out following his death.
In a story that now spans three continents,John would leave behind a widow , Pearl and his little girl, here is a picture of them together just before his embarkation.
Now nearly 100 years on three members of Newbattle at War have discovered that they are related to John. Helen Szafer, Gordon Smith and Aileen Smith whom I am grateful to for supplying these photographs.
My wife is also a distant relative of the Lockharts.
The Lochart family house in Kurri Kurri
The War Memorial in Kurri Kurri, John's name is just visible top right.
The similarity between the Miners memorial in Kurri Kurri and Newtongrange is quite striking. The first photo is prior to the renovation of the memorial and it's remount on a more impressive plinth. Last year 2009 saw the miners officially commemorated for the first time, thanks in part to my father Alexander Duncan who was a miner himself. The wreath was laid by an ex Bevan Boy who was posted here in WW2. he married a girl from the village and stayed in the village he grew to love.
Dedicated to all mineworkers