John Durrant was listed in the Absent Voter Records for Abbots Langley in Autumn 1918 and Spring 1919. He was initially identified from the Absent Voter Records and was not recorded elsewhere in the Abbots Langley Parish records. In the Absent Voter Records John was listed serving with the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS), and his address was given at “The Three Tuns” at Nash Mills.
John’s Service Record has survived and in the UK Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services it was identified that he had been a member of the Royal Navy Voluntary Reserve before joining up and that he first served in the Royal Navy, aboard HMS “President II”. This “ship” was a shore establishment near Tower Bridge, and for most of the time a Seaman would be based at another location in London. The Record noted that John was sent to Dunkirk between 25th and 27th February 1918. On 31st March 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF), which came into being from the amalgamation of the RNAS and the Royal Flying Corps the very next day. So technically John spent one day with the RNAS, and his Absent Voter Record should have recorded him serving with the RAF.
John was born on 22nd December 1880 at 4 Gibbs Cottages, Aldenham. He was one of seven children, six of which were born to his George and Martha Durrant, and one resulting from a subsequent marriage after Martha died. In the 1881 Census his father worked as a General Labourer. By 1891 the family lived at 2 Sydney Cottage, Wards Lane, Aldenham, and by this time Martha had died. George was employed as an Engine Driver for an Electric Company. In 1901 the family lived at Aldenham Road, Elstree. George had married Ellen, and the couple had a daughter. George was recorded working as an Electrical Engineer, and John had commenced work and worked as a Carpenter.
In the summer of 1907 George married Rose North, and two children were born, in 1908 and 1910. In the 1911 Census the family lived at 7 Ridley Terrace, Walton Road, Bushey, and by then John worked as a Carpenter/Joiner, and occupation he noted when he joined up with the Royal Navy in January 1918.
It is not known when John and his family moved to the Abbots Langley area, but in the Absent Voter Records his address was given at Nash Mills.
John survived the War.