According to his attestation papers dated April 12, 1915 at Toronto, John William Rostron was born on October 21, 1881 in Blackborn ?, England. He listed his wife, Annie Rostron, Humber Bay as his next of kin. He was a labourer and a member of an active militia. He was 34 years and 6 months of age and stood 5 feet f 1/2 inches tall. He had blue eyes, black hair and a dark complexion. He was a Presbyterian.
According to the 1914 Toronto city directory he was a labourer living on the north side of the Lake Shore Road.