Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Edward McDermott

Edward McDermott :

Edward McDermott : (L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal

(L to R) 1914-15 Star; British War Medal

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

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and Edward joined the Manchester Regiment later that month or in early September. He was given the service number 3828 and assigned to the 11th Battalion. This was a new unit being formed by men who had enlisted 'for the duration of the war'.

The 11th Battalion trained at the Manchester Regiment Depot in Ashton-under-Lyne, and then moved to Belton Park near Grantham in Lincolnshire. By April 1915 they had moved to an area of Surrey near the villages of Witley and Frensham. After a final inspection they set sail for Gallipoli on the 30th June.

Edward and the 11th Battalion took part in the landing at Suvla Bay which began on the 6th August. This was intended to support the British forces already fighting at Cape Helles in Gallipoli by diverting Turkish soldiers to deal with this new threat.

The landings did not go well. Inexperienced soldiers were coming ashore in darkness and under Turkish fire. This was made worse by poor leadership, meaning that the British suffered many casualties. After several days they were still unable to capture the high ground from the Turks.

Edward and the 11th Battalion endured 4 months of stifling heat, lack of water and poor health. The British were not able to advance; instead they held their trenches under heavy shell and rifle fire. The campaign had been a failure and the 11th Battalion was evacuated to Egypt in mid December.

We have no record of Edward ever leaving the 11th Battalion, which would suggest that he stayed in Egypt until early July when they sailed to France. On the Western Front the battalion fought around Arras, during the Somme Offensive and on the Ancre during 1916. Later they took part in the Passchendaele Offensive in the autumn of 1917, fought to defeat the German Spring Offensive in March and April 1918 and took part in the Allied advances of the final 100 days of the war.

Edward was transferred to the Class Z Reserve on the 25th February 1919, just over 3 months after the end of the war. This meant he could have been called back to the Army if the Armistice with Germany had broken down; but it never did.

The rest of Edward's life is a mystery. As well as his 1914-15 Star and British War Medal, Edward was also awarded the Allied Victory Medal for his Army service.

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