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John Blakely Oliver was born in St Rollox, Glasgow, on the 1st January 1892. From 1914 to 1916 he attended evening classes in modelling (sculpture) at The Glasgow School of Art while working as a french polisher. During World War One he served in the Field Ambulance, an unarmed mobile unit of the Royal Army Medical Corps responsible for receiving and treating sick and wounded men from the Front. He is listed in the School's World War One Roll of Honour.
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