Volenteering, at the age of 15, in November 1914, he served on important duties at various stations until 1916, when he was drafted to the Western Front. Whilst in this theatre of war he fought on the Somme and was gassed, and after his recovery served at Passchendaele, St Quentin and Villers-Bretonneux, and in subsequent engaguements until the cessation of hostilities. He was demobilised in February 1919 after his return to England.
Drummer John (Jack) Copley, 15563, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, was killed in action on February 17th, 1917, at Boom Ravine on the Somme.
A letter to his father, Walter, at Danesbury House, 98 Old Bedford Road, Luton, from his adjutant said John had been killed in action on February 12th (although the Boom Ravine battle was on February 17th). He wrote that the battalion was in action in front of Miraumont and John was killed by shell fire while delivering despatches. He was buried on the field of action and a cross marked his grave.