John was born in Broussa near Constantinople in 1886, one of 10 children in a wealthy Armenian family. After his father’s death, he relocated to England with his brothers. After completing his studies and working as an engineer for a few years, he joined the military. In 1908 John was sent to India to serve and immediately stood out because of his skills and ability to speak 6 languages.
After initially discharging from the army to go back to Constantinople (where he was arrested by the Turkish authorities), then traveling to Egypt, he joined the British Intelligence in the Middle East again. John recalls that he ‘collected about 380 Armenian boys and girls at Baghdad, where an orphanage was formed by the Americans for their welfare. Again in Baghdad, I collected about 40 Turkish officers and Turkish government employees, who by proclamation should have surrendered’.
After many obstacles, he was naturalized in 1926, and after his last trip to the Middle East in 1959, no trace of him could be found.