In the months May to July 1848 John's name on the paybook is followed by X Mark, i.e. someone signed for him.
In August it is his own signature without an X mark. He was about 20 years old.
He first recorded station in 1848 was Woolwich, London, and by January 1849 he was stationed in Devonport, but we don’t know when he moved.
It would be interesting to know if he had already met and was being helped by the schoolmaster's daughter Ann Avery!
By comparison, his older brother Thomas, who joined the army at the same time, still could not sign his own name as witness at John and Ann's wedding three years later in 1851