Born September 15th 1914 in Dalhousie, India.
Married August 24th 1938 in Chelsea, London
to Paula Halloran from Sydney, Australia.
John died March 25th.1965 in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S.A.
Paula died in 1996 in Hatfield.
John won first
scholarship at Bradfield College and read English
at Balliol College, Oxford.
In 1937 he joined 30,000 demonstrators in Hyde Park at the Mayday
Peace Rally. "We were anti British Empire, anti big business, anti fascist, anti militarism" wrote friend and co-demonstrator, Nick Monserrat. John's appearance at the rally was noted by MI5 (secret service) and blighted his job applications for years. He was cautioned by Balliol against joining the Spanish Civil War.
He married Paula (1938),"a Sydney socialite" and they lived in Windlesham, Surrey.
His first job was editing Federal Union News. Registered as pacifist in 1939, he took a job with Associated Press writing news reports. Physical collapse with hypertension in 1940 gave the first indication of serious health problem. Rejected on health grounds by Royal Army Medical Corps. Doctor advised quiet job teaching in the country. While teaching at Selwyn House in Wales he wrote a letter critical of navy. The letter was intercepted by MI5 and John was sacked.
Returning to Windlesham, John started broadcasting for BBC and growing maize in patch behind his cottage (See "Corn on the Cob" pub. 1956). He was offered a job teaching English at St Pauls by High master Walter Oakshott (ex-Balliol).
John was an inspiring teacher who "treated his 14 year olds like adults and never imposed his authority by any means other than by the strength and charm of his personality". Among John's many talents and interests were sport (tennis & cricket), singing, writing verse, bird-watching, cultivating the land, walking, exploring foreign countries and writing about his adventures.
In 1955 one of his many broadcasts entitled "Portrait of a Village" about Windlesham lead to threats of libel action from angry villagers.
In 1963 John left St.Pauls for a second teaching job in USA at Woodbury Forest School, Virginia.
By the spring of 1964 he was seriously ill with a heart defect that had been a problem all his life. He died in Virginia the following March.
John, the youngest of four brothers
Source: "John Usborne, Schoolmaster" a memoir by his daughter Ann. See above.