(L to R) India General Service Medal with clasp 'Burma 1930-32'; Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
John was born in around September 1901 in Bury, Lancashire. We don't know anything about his family or early life.
John joined the Manchester Regiment on the 28th July 1919 in Manchester. Before he enlisted John had worked as a sawyer. He was given the service number 77876. John served in the UK until the 22nd February 1921 when he was sent to Kamptee in India to join the 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. At around this time his service number became 3513260.
The 2nd Battalion was based in Kamptee until 1923 when it moved to Jubbulpore, now Jabalpur. It celebrated its centenary there on the 25th March 1924 with a week of celebrations, including 3 days holiday for the entire battalion.
John moved with the 2nd Battalion to Rangoon in Burma in 1925. On the 9th January that year he was appointed an Unpaid Lance Corporal. At that time he was a member of D Company. He was trained as a first aider at an ambulance class on the 10th November of that year.
In January 1928 John and the 2nd Battalion moved to Maymyo in the Burmese jungle by sailing up the Irrawaddy River. John left them on the 26th November and served in the UK until the 18th February 1931, when he rejoined the 2nd Battalion in Secunderabad, India. We don't know what he did during his time in the UK.
In December 1930 a rebellion broke out in several regions of Burma. The authorities requested more troops from India to help restore control, so John and the 2nd Battalion returned to the country in June 1931. They took part in patrols of the jungle and villages in their allotted area until the rebellion was brought to an end by early 1932. John left Burma in early February.
The 2nd Battalion left India on the 21st October 1932 for a short posting to Khartoum in Sudan. John returned to the UK with them on the 28th December 1933.
We believe John continued to serve with the 2nd Battalion. They were based in Strensall near York for the rest of his time in the Army. We don't know anything about what John did during the mid 1930's.
In 1936 the 2nd Battalion was chosen to convert from an infantry unit to a mechanised machine gun battalion. This led to a busy time for John and his comrades, as they needed to be trained in driving, vehicle maintenance and Vickers Machine Gun shooting. We know he was a member of A Company in 1937, although we don't know if he had served in any other Companies before then.
The 2nd Battalion needed more than just machine gunners to operate effectively. On the 23rd August 1937 John passed a test to qualify as a Class III Clerk. We believe he had held this job for some time before taking the test though. He was able to use a typewriter and could do 'a certain amount of shorthand'.
John left the Army on the 12th April 1938 after 18 years and 259 days service. Shortly after he left he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, which he had qualified for after 18 years. The Army ran a number of training courses for soldiers about to leave. John chose to learn carpentry, but only completed a week of the course before he left to take up a civilian job. We don't know what this job was, or what other jobs he held during his life.
At some point before he left the Army John had married Elizabeth, although we don't know her maiden name, or when and where the wedding took place. We also don't know whether they had any children.
During the early part of the Second World War Britain was threatened with a German invasion. John joined the Home Guard on the 14th March 1941 and served with it until it was stood down on the 3rd December 1944. He formally left the force on the 31st.
In later life John lived in Birkenhead, Merseyside. We believe he died between April and June 1979 aged 77. He had donated his medals to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment earlier that year.