John Dunbar Devine was born in 1883 in Cooktown, Queensland. At the time of enlisting in the First World War he was 33 years old, living in South Australia, and working as a surveyor. He enlisted with the 3rd Australian Pioneer Battalion in Adelaide on 10 March 1916. The battalion was formed in the aftermath of the failed Gallipoli campaign, with volunteers drawn from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia. Devine embarked from Melbourne on H.M.A.T. Wandilla, on 6 June 1916, disembarking at Plymouth on 26 July 1916. The battalion undertook training in the United Kingdom, during which time Devine was promoted from Private to Lance Sergeant, before proceeding to France in late 1916. The 3rd Pioneer Battalion served on the Western Front in France and Belgium until the end of the war. Assigned to the 3rd Division, it fought in most of the major battles supported by the Australian Imperial Force. Devine, primarily ranked Sergeant, was awarded the Military Medal on 8 February 1918, for bravery in the field. He returned to Australia on 10 May 1919, disembarking in Sydney on 1 July 2019.