Allied Victory Medal
John was born in around May 1880. We don't know anything about his early life. He had one sister, Maria.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and John joined the Army on the 10th December 1915. Conscription would be introduced at the end of the year so he may have wanted to volunteer, and choose the unit he served in, before this happened. At the time John lived at 1 Parsons Yards in Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire and was working as a labourer. He was 5 feet 3 1/2 inches tall and weighed 140 pounds. Maria lived at 9 Albion Street in Ashton.
John was accepted into the 9th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on the 21st March 1916 and given the service number 4828. He trained with their Reserve unit, the 3/9th Battalion at Witley in Surrey. Whilst John was with them the unit changed its name to the 9th (Reserve) Battalion, and shortly before he left the unit it was absorbed into the 8th (Reserve) Battalion. On the 10th September John was Absent Without Leave for 30 hours. He was Confined to Barracks for 5 days as punishment.
John sailed to France on the 28th September 1916. Reserve units did not serve overseas so John was sent to the 30th Infantry Base Depot at Etaples to wait until he was needed by a unit. We don't know exactly when, but John joined the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment in the Cambrin area of France. He was given the service number 41396.
On the 11th October John was admitted to the 24th General Hospital in Etaples. He had developed synovitis in his right knee whilst training with the 2nd Battalion at Number 2 Training Camp, also in Etaples. The doctors who treated him felt his injury was 'of a trivial nature' and that it 'will not interfere with his future efficiency as a soldier'. John spent the rest of October and November in Convalescent Depots, including Number 3 Depot in Bayeux, and at 30 Infantry Base Depot. He returned to the 2nd Battalion on the 30th November. John had avoided being involved in the Battle of the Ancre with the Battalion. They had taken heavy casualties and only 156 men arrived at Halloy training area, where John rejoined them.
The 2nd Battalion left Halloy on the 6th January 1917. They marched to Beauval, and were then moved by bus to Bertrancourt. During the march John had smoked without permission. This was a breach of discipline, so he was Confined to Barracks for 5 days.
Whilst at Bertrancourt John was accidentally shot in the abdomen. He was taken to 49 Casualty Clearing Station for treatment, but his injury was too severe and he died on the 20th February 1917. He was 36 years old.
John was buried in Contay British Cemetery, along with 1129 other men. His grave reference is VII. F. 9. By the time of his death Maria had married a man named Garrigan, and lived at 6 Albion Street. She was John's only relative.
John's medal was donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in November 2002. As well as his Allied Victory Medal he was also awarded the British War Medal for his Army service.