Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

John Alfred Cobain

John Alfred Cobain :

John Alfred Cobain : Allied Victory Medal

Allied Victory Medal

Alfred was born on 26 May 1892 in Chorlton, Manchester. By 1901 he was living at 54, Edge Street, Hulme with his family. In the 1911 census Alfred is recorded living at 46, Edge Street, Hulme, aged 18 and working as a stock keeper.

It is believed that he joined the Manchester Regiment in 1911 (although it could have been earlier) and was given the service number 1454. The 2nd Battalion was based at the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland.

When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the 2nd Battalion was sent to France. It arrived on the 16th and was soon in action. It lost about 350 men on the 26th August at Le Cateau. Albert did not join them until the 9th November.

On the 12th March 1915 there is a record of an A. Cobain, aged 22, from B Company, 2nd Manchesters appearing on a casualty list with sore feet. He also appears on the casualty list on the 13th May 1915 with a foot injury.

At some point after this date he was transferred to an unknown battalion of the Border Regiment and given the service number 44868. We do not know why Alfred was transferred.

After war was over Alfred went to Camarthen (West Wales). He met and married Hannah Mary Ffoulkes on the 29th February 1924.

In 1939 Alfred, Hannah and family are recorded as living at 5 Dixon Street, Manchester. Alfred is working as a postman. In December 1940 their house was destroyed by a bombing raid as part of the so called ‘Manchester Blitz’. Hannah returned to Camarthen in December 1940 with their six children (three girls and three boys) via Blackpool but without Alfred.

By December 1941 Alfred was living at 11, Alice Street in Hulme, Manchester. He died on the 16th June 1949 aged 57.

As well as his Allied Victory Medal, Alfred was also awarded the 1914 Star and the British War Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf

Telephone: 0161 342 5480
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Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Army Museums Ogilby Trust logo
Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council