An accountant from North Shields, John Herbert Hedley was the oldest son of Ralph and Ann Dunn (Hair) Hedley. He enlisted on 4 August 1914 and whilst serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers, he was promoted to Captain. As an observer serving with 20 Squadron, Captain Hedley scored eleven victories before he and his pilot, Captain Robert Kirby Kirkman, were captured on 27 March 1918. Their Bristol F.2b was shot down in flames near Foucaucourt by Karl Gallwitz of Jasta Boelcke. Hedley was repatriated on 13 December 1918. On 27 February 1919, Lt. (Hon. Capt.) Hedley was transferred to the unemployed list.
Hedley departed Southampton, England aboard the Red Star Line's Finland on 21 October 1920, arriving in New York ten days later. In Chicago, Illinois, on 3 May 1926, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States. During World War II he was employed by the U. S. Army Air Corps in Dayton, Ohio.