THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.
REDRUTH TOWN MUSEUM. John French is, perhaps, a more typical Cornishman than many of the inventors and artists featured in the 100 objects project. Born into the mining community in Redruth in 1893, he won the Redruth Half Marathon in 1909. In 1912 he emigrated to work for the Arizona Copper Company and sang in the Male Voice choir there. Such choirs are still a feature in Cornwall.
His return to Cornwall unfortunately coincided with World War I so in 1915 he joined the Royal Engineers and worked as a sapper, undermining the enemy's position with huge amounts of explosives. Awarded the Military Cross and Military Medal he progressed upwards to become 2nd lieutenant. He also kept three beautifully written diaries detailing his time in the trenches and recording the death, horror and bravery of the War. After the war he returned to America, contracted tuberculosis and returned to live at Porthtowan where he died in 1929.
Photo: Bernie Pettersen