Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

Peter McGrath

Peter McGrath :

Peter McGrath : Allied Victory Medal

Allied Victory Medal

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

The First World War broke out at the beginning of August 1914 and Peter joined the Manchester Regiment on the 18th of that month. He was given the service number 3492 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.

Peter 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.

Peter endured up to 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.

At some point during this service Peter was wounded. We don't know when this happened or what his injuries were. He was returned to the UK for treatment. By the spring of 1916 it was clear that he was never going to recover enough to return to duty, so on the 24th May he was discharged as 'no longer physically fit for war service'. He was given a Silver War Badge, with serial number 94265, to show that his discharge was honourable.

The rest of Peter's life is a mystery. As well as his Allied Victory Medal, Peter was also awarded the 1914-15 Star and British War 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
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Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council