John Joseph Cleary was born on the 27th December 1893 in the town of Listowel, situated on the River Feale in North County Kerry. The son of a sergeant in the Royal Irish Constabulary, he was one of fourteen children, five boys and nine girls. Cleary joined the Munsters in 1912 and was assigned to the 2nd Battalion with regimental number 9834. On the outbreak of war in Memorial Cross at the August 1914, he was a Lance Corporal and attached to C Company, at that time stationed at Malplaquet Barracks, Aldershot, Hampshire.
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