John Thomas Inskip Lodge was born in Shefford, Bedfordshire, on 31st January 1899, one of seven children to John and Florence Lodge (née Inskip). When his son was young, John Sr worked as a bead lace manufacturer, but by the time of the 1911 census, he had become the manager of a steam laundry.
Florence, by this time, had passed away, and in November 1911, John Sr married again, to Florence Yarnell. The couple would go on to have four children, John Jr’s half-siblings.
By this time, war was on the horizon, and John was eager to leave his laundry job and volunteer. He joined the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 4th September 1915, giving his date of birth as three years earlier in order to ensure he was accepted. His service record shows that he stood 5ft 4ins (1.62m) tall, had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and brown hair.
As a Private, John served with the Chatham Division of the regiment; he would have seen action in some of the key battles of the war, including at Gallipoli in 1915/16 and later on the Western Front. It was while he was fighting in France in September 1916 that he was injured, and he was medically evacuated back to England for treatment.
Private Lodge recovered, and served on in Chatham, Kent, where he was billeted at the naval barracks in the town. At the start of June 1917, he had some leave owing, and so visited his parents back in Bedfordshire. When he returned to Kent, he fell ill and was admitted to the Naval Hospital in the town. Sadly, John was not to recover; he passed away on 23rd June 1917, aged just 18 years old.
John Thomas Inskip Lodge was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, not far from the Chatham barracks at which he was based.