John was born to Jessie Stapleton c1889 in England at Tremaine, Cornwall. He attended school at the nearby village of Warbstow. He came to Australia about 1913, his four sisters and two brothers remained in Cornwall. John had been working as a Labourer at Delungra when he enlisted at Liverpool NSW in January 1916.

After joining the 3rd Battalion, 17th Reinforcement John left Australia on HMAT A40 Ceramic in April 1916 and arrived in Egypt the following month.  Five weeks later his Battalion was sent to France. The following year he was appointed Lance Corporal.

Private John Stapleton was Killed in Action on 26 September 1917 at Polygon Wood, Belgium. He has no known grave and his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres, Belgium.  His name is also inscribed on the Warbstow Cenotaph in Cornwall and on the Delungra NSW Honor Roll.