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Born in the early 1920s in Lanarkshire, his father was a miner who was victimised in 1926 dispute and who subsequently worked in the steel industry.
John went into mining when left school and was for many years one of the Communist Party's stalwarts in the Doncaster area of the Yorkshire coalfield.
He was later a shop steward at International Harvester and then Armthorpe room-heat plant.
Source: Funeral oration notes of Frank Watters 30th January 1985