John Cyril Watmough was born in Bramley, Yorkshire, in March 1891, the son of teacher, John Watmough, and his wife Helen Mary. He was the eldest of six brothers, Edmund, George Hugh, Henry Francis, Victor and Cecil, three of whom were also killed in the war. He also had three sisters Helen Madeline, Marianne and Nina.
His father was a Languages and Science teacher, but turned to politics and had moved the family to South Shields in the 1890s, where he became Conservative Party election agent, and later moved to London, on his own, where he was "Secretary to Political Association".
John was educated at Westoe Secondary School, South Shields, then Armstrong College, where he trained to be a teacher, returning to South Shields to teach.
John was killed by a sniper on 10th July 1915 aged 26.