John Belton

Born 4 September 1887

Died 30 May 1916

Studied at the RCA:  Oct 1913 – Oct 1914

John came from a Lincolnshire farming family living in Blyton Carr, near Gainsborough. He was one of six children – the youngest of four sons – brought up by their widowed father, William, who died in 1907. It seems likely that one his older brothers, Arthur, took over the Redhill Farm tenancy soon afterwards: the 1911 Census notes him as head of the household, with John and other members of the family continuing to live there at the time.

Very little information about John can be gleaned from his College student file, but it is noted on Form 16 that he had been an art pupil teacher, and later an assistant teacher, before starting as a fee-paying student in October 1913. He had only just registered for his second year of studies before enlisting locally at Chelsea, and leaving on 21 October 1914. According to a letter from the Board of Education, written in December, John had applied for, and was granted, the remission of his fees for the term.

His service file has not survived, but his Medal Roll Card shows he went on to serve as a private in the recently formed 22nd (Service) Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (City of London) Regiment. Their formation was the initiative of the borough council and keenly supported by the mayor of the time.

John arrived in France on 17 November 1915, and was killed in action the following May, probably when the military division the battalion belonged to became involved in very heavy, and reportedly confused, fighting at Vimy Ridge in the Pas-de-Calais.

His effects went to his two older brothers, Arthur and William.

John is buried at Zouave Valley Cemetery, Souchez, Pas-de-Calais, France.

Student file, Form 16 – Royal College of Art Archive
Student file, Form 16 RCA – Royal College of Art Archive