John Selkirk was born at Wigan in 1894, the only son of John Selkirk and Mary Lucy (nee Chapman) who were married at Manchester in 1891.
 
He had two sisters, Mary Chapman (born 1892) and Eugenia (born 1895)
 
John Selkirk senior was also born at Wigan of Scottish parents. In 1891, shortly before his marriage, he was working as a travelling draper and living at 29 Caroline Street, Wigan with his mother, who had been widowed in 1868 when her only son was just a few weeks old.
 
His future wife, Mary Lucy Chapman, was living with her widowed mother at 103 Hendham Vale in the Harpurhey district of Manchester in 1891. She was born at Manchester and was working in the civil service as a telegraphist.
 
Although all three of their children were born at Wigan the family were living at 489 Rice Lane, Walton on the night of the 1901 census. Mary Lucy Selkirk was away from home at the time but her sister Lilian Wilks and her husband's sister Margaret Thomson were both visitors at Rice Lane.
 
John Selkirk senior was running a drapers shop at 489 Rice Lane - near Orrell Park train station - trading, in 1911, under the name Selkirk & McKerrow.
 
John Selkirk junior was educated at Longmoor Lane Council School, at the Liverpool Institute and at the Ruskin School Home, Heacham-on-Sea, Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
 
This was a private school run on Socialist principals by Bellerby 'Harry' Lowerison. See 'Socialism and Education in Britain 1883-1902' by Kevin Manton. In 1911 John and his sister Eugenia were boarding there.
John Selkirk's service records have survived. They show he enlisted in the 10th (Scottish) battalion King's Liverpool Regiment at Liverpool on the 12th September 1914. He was 20 years old, 5ft inches tall and weighed 12 stone 4 lbs. He gave his home address as 489 Rice Lane and his occupation as salesman.
 
He was posted to the Western Front on the 23rd January 1915. In February he spent four days at the field ambulance receiving treatment for Bronchitis. He was killed on action in Belgium on the 13th March 1915 after less that two months at the front.
 
A report on his death appeared in the Liverpool Echo and in the Evening Express on the 19th March 1915. The photo that appeared in the Evening Express report is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Liverpool Daily Post & Echo.
 
ORMSKIRK SCOT KILLED.
   News of the death in action of Private John Selkirk, only son of Mr. John Selkirk, of Hey Mount, Ormskirk, has just been received. He was a partner with his father in the firm of J. Selkirk and Son, drapers, etc., Rice-lane, Walton, and was well-known in Liverpool business circles. Standing six feet high, he was a fine young fellow, and joined the Scottish in September, when he was 20 years of age. Mr. Selkirk has received the following letter from the deceased's platoon sergeant J.G. Paterson:- "Your son John met his death on the 13th inst. in the firing line, and it was a fine soldier's end, for he was on the look-out at the time. He suffered no pain, for he 'never' was conscious after being shot. As his platoon sergeant I had ample opportunities of knowing your boy, a cheerier spirit of keener soldier I never came into contact with. I feel his loss to be a personal one, and deeply sympathise in your bereavement. His chums were numerous, and they carried his body away from the front line to a place where he was reverently buried. The whole platoon join with me in extending their deepest sympathy to you."

Evening Express 19th March 1915

 
By September 1915 John's parents had moved to Hey Mount, St.Helens Road, Ormskirk.
 
Probate of his estate was obtained by his father at London on the 29th June 1915. His effects were valued at 371 13s 11d (36,000 at current values.)
 
John's father died at 55 Denmark Road, Southport in 1921. His effects were valued at 8776 19s 8d (330,000 at current values.)
 
His sisters both married; Eugenia Selkirk married Edward S Hall in the King's Norton district in 1918 and went on to have three children and Mary Chapman Selkirk married Charles Snow John Clarke in Devon in 1927. She and her husband, who was a house decorator, had no children.
 
John's mother died in 1945 at Windyridge, Granville Road, Ilfracombe, the home of her daughter Mary Chapman Clarke who died at the same address just six years later in 1951.