Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

John Newton

John Newton :

John Newton : (L to R) British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

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

John was born in September 1896 in Salford, Lancashire. His father was called William Francis B. and his mother was Elizabeth. He had 2 older siblings, Marrion and Harry, and 2 younger, Alice and Frank. The family had lost one other child by 1911.

William worked as a coffee roaster and grocer, and in 1901 the family lived at 27 Buile Street in Broughton, Salford. Ten years later they had moved to 538 Great Cheetham Street in Salford. John had found work as a junior clerk. We don't know where he worked. By 1914 he was no longer considered 'junior'.

John must have wanted to do more with his life, as he joined the 7th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment on the 28th January 1914. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based on Burlington Street in Manchester, so John kept his civilian home and job and trained to be a soldier during evenings and weekends. There was also an annual training camp, lasting around 2 weeks. He was given the service number 2004 and assigned to B Company of the battalion.

When the First World War broke out in August 1914 the 7th Battalion was called into service. They were sent to Egypt on the 10th September, arriving on the 25th. They then continued to Khartoum in Sudan, where they trained and guarded the city until mid 1915. In early May 1915 John and the 7th Battalion went to war in Gallipoli. They were soon in the front lines, and taking casualties.

A major objective of the original Allied invasion on the 25th April was the village of Krithia. The Turkish defenders had been able to stop two separate attempts to capture it, and in early June the Allies decided to try again. The 7th Battalion took part in this attack, which began on the 4th June 1915. The 7th Battalion advanced further than most British units, but this meant when the Turks counter attacked they were cut off and forced to withdraw without capturing the village.

John left Gallipoli and the 7th Battalion on the 1st July. We don't know why, but we believe he had either been wounded or fallen ill. He was transferred to the Class P(T) Reserve on the 21st May 1917. This existed for soldiers who were 'deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the Army' and would be eligible for a pension if they were discharged.

By this time John, like all Territorial soldiers, had been given a new service number. His became 275385. He was awarded a Silver War Badge with serial number 195908 to show that he had served honourably in the Army.

We don't know what work John did, but on the 29th December he was finally discharged as 'no longer physically fit for war service'. On the 21st May 1919 John was awarded a pension of 8 shillings and 3 pence (8/3) per week until the 18th May 1920. We don't know whether he had received any money during 1917 or 1918.

When he was discharged John's character was assessed as 'excellent'. He was 'a sober, well-conducted man with a good record'. He returned to 538 Great Cheetham Street and still lived there in 1925.

The rest of John's life remains a mystery. As well as his British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal, he was also awarded the 1914-15 Star 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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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council