A shipping clerk before enlisting in Melbourne, John was selected for officer training and posted first to 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) in June 1952. He was sent to Japan, then in February 1953 was transferred to 3RAR which was fighting in Korea. There he commanded an infantry platoon in action in the region of Hill 355, Samichon Valley and the Kansas Line.
John has described his fellow diggers as being determined in the face of danger and taking pride in their battalion. He remembers the camaraderie and compassion and reserves special praise for the ‘unsurpassed performance’ of the medical personnel. John returned to Australia in March 1954 and in May transferred to the Citizen Military Forces, finally ending his Army service in 1975.
After his military service, John worked once again for a shipping company and he was Operations Manager (Victoria) of the Blue Funnel Line before studying theology at Ridley College. He became a Chaplain in 1989 and in 2009 was created a Knight of Honour in the Sovereign Order of St John of Jerusalem. In 2012 John was promoted to Knight of Grace. John was twice President of the Victorian Branch of the RAR Association and is honorary Chaplain to thirty-one ex-service associations. John says he recognises in the servicemen of today the same characteristics of mateship that he saw during his service in the Korean War.