John Wynne Lisle was born c. 1891 in Hanson Place, Old Monkland, Coatbridge, Lanarkshire the son of Thomas Lisle and Rose Lisle (née Romanov). John Romanov, a joiner and general dealer, had been born in Easingwold, Yorkshire and his wife, Hannah, was from Collingham, near Hull, Yorkshire. Rose Romanov was born in York and Thomas Lisle in Beaufort, Monmouthshire. John Wynne Lisle’s brother, Thomas, and sister, Florence, were also born in Scotland but by 1895 the family had moved back to York, where Thomas Lisle was employed as a Foreman Chocolate Maker in a cocoa factory. Younger siblings, James and Edith May, were born in York. By 1911 John Wynne Lisle had become an apprentice cabinet-maker and his brother Thomas an apprentice printer. Their sister, Florence was employed as a clerk in the cocoa factory.
On completion of his apprenticeship, at some point John took a post at Saint Chad’s College, Durham as part of the maintenance team. He is listed in 1915 in the college’s The Stag magazine (vol. 3, no. 10, Epiphany 1915) as having matriculated to St Chad’s Hostel, Hooton Pagnell, but there is no further record of his university career, although the following is recorded in St Chad’s College Magazine, (no. 8, 1950, p.31):
“John Wynne Lisle, one of the Hostel students, before leaving for the Front as a private, left directions with his relatives that in the event of his death, his books should be given to St Chad’s and £5 invested in War Loan for the Hall. He was posted ‘wounded and missing’ and 12 months later his death was presumed by the War Office”.
John Lisle enlisted into the 16th Battalion of the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, which had been formed as the Church Lads’ Brigade Battalion. He was posted to France on 16 of December 1916 in a batch of 112 other ranks to bolster the strength of the battalion following heavy losses. Promoted to Corporal he was selected for a commission, and on 12 April 1917 on completion of his training course he was transferred to the 15th (Service) Battalion (1st Leeds) of the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) on 12 of April 1917. He was posted missing in action on 3 May 1917, when his regiment was engaged in one of the final battles of the Arras offensive, the Third Battle of the Scarpe. Although listed as belonging to the 15th Battalion, it is unclear as to which battalion he was serving in when he went missing.
Second Lieutenant John Lisle’s name is recorded on the Arras Memorial. He is also remembered on a plaque in St Olaf’s church, York, and a reredos and roll of honour.