Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

David T. Lewis

David T. Lewis :

David T. Lewis : (L to R) Military Medal; Allied Victory Medal

(L to R) Military Medal; Allied Victory Medal

David was born in around 1898. We don't know anything about his family or early life except that he grew up in the Levenshulme area of Manchester.

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and David joined the Army on the 13th December 1915. He enlisted into the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and was assigned to the 2/7th Battalion. This had been formed from new recruits when the original 7th Battalion had been sent overseas at the beginning of the war.

David trained near Colchester in Essex before going overseas to France with the 2/7th Battalion in February 1917. At around the same time soldiers serving in units of the Territorial Force were given new service numbers. David's became 277085. We don't know his original number.

The 2/7th Battalion served around Givenchy and La Bassee during its first few months in France. It saw little combat, and instead was involved in constructing and improving trenches, as well as holding the front lines. In late June they moved north, to Nieuwpoort on the Belgian coast.

In late September the 2/7th Battalion moved into the Ypres sector and began preparing to take part in the Passchendaele Offensive. This had been underway since late July. The 2/7th Battalion would go into action on the 9th October, as part of the Battle of Poelcapelle.

The attack began well, with the British advancing to their objectives, but it soon slowed to a halt. Heavy rain over the previous few days had turned the rear areas and the battlefield into swamps, which exhausted the soldiers as they tried to move forwards. They were also under artillery and machine gun fire from the German defenders, which inflicted heavy casualties. The attack was called off and the British returned to their positions.

Although the attack as a whole was not a success, there were still examples of individual bravery. David was awarded the Military Medal for an act of great courage in the London Gazette of the 14th January 1918. The attack on Poelcapelle was the only large battle that the 2/7th Battalion took part in during this period, so it is very likely that his medal was awarded for gallantry on the 9th October. Unfortunately there was no citation with his award, so we don't know what he did to earn it.

The rest of David's war remains a mystery. At some point he was either wounded or fell sick, and returned to the UK. He did not recover and so on the 14th February 1919 he was discharged as 'no longer physically fit for war service'. He held the rank of Lance Corporal when he was discharged. He was awarded a Silver War Badge, with serial number B126483, to show that his discharge was honourable. We don't know what happened to David after this.

As well as his Military Medal and Allied Victory Medal, David was also awarded the British War Medal for his Army service.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
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Heritage Wharf
Ashton-under-Lyne
OL7 0QA

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