Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

George Collins

George Collins :

George Collins : (L to R) Military Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

(L to R) Military Medal; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

We don't know anything about George's family or his early life.

The First World War broke out in August 1914, and George joined the Army between July and September 1915. He was given the service number 26580. This number suggests he originally joined the 19th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment.

George did not go overseas until 1916, although we don't know where he served. If he was a member of the 19th Battalion he is likely to have fought in at least part of the Somme Offensive of July to November 1916, at Arras in April 1917 and during the Passchendaele Offensive in Belgium during the autumn of 1917.

By March 1918 George was serving with the 16th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. It is likely he had joined them when the 19th Battalion was disbanded during February. It had been split between the 16th and 17th Battalions.

In March 1918 the Germans launched a major offensive aimed at defeating the Allies before large number of American soldiers could enter the war against them. The attack began on the 21st March and the 16th Battalion was stationed on Manchester Hill, overlooking the town of St. Quentin. They held out through the day against overwhelming numbers before the survivors were forced to surrender. If George was present on this day, he must have avoided being captured and escaped to the British lines.

George was awarded the Military Medal for his gallantry during March or April. The citation has not survived, so we don't know exactly what he did, or when the event took place. His award was published in the London Gazette on the 29th August 1918.

George survived the war, but his life afterwards remains a mystery. His medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in November 2001.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

Telephone: 0161 343 2878
Email: Portland.Basin@tameside.gov.uk
Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Tameside Metropolitan Borough logo
Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council