Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

John Palin

John Palin :

John Palin : (L to R) Military Medal; 1914-15 Star; British War Medal; Allied Victory Medal

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

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

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and John joined the Army in late November or early December. He felt a close enough connection to Manchester to want to join the 6th City Battalion. This was being formed by men from the city so that they could serve together. It became the 21st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment and John was assigned to XI Platoon in C Company. His service number was 19226.

John was quickly promoted several times and by mid 1915 he held the rank of Lance Sergeant. This was possibly because he had some military experience, or it could have been because he held a position of leadership in his work or social life. The Army was expanding rapidly, and needed leaders wherever they could be found.

The 21st Battalion trained in Manchester until January 1915 when it moved to Morecambe, Lancashire. That April John moved to Belton Park near Grantham, Lincolnshire, and in September he was sent to Larkhill in Wiltshire with the 21st Battalion. They sailed to France on the 10th November 1915.

We don't know much about John's service in France. The 21st Battalion took part in the Somme Offensive between the 1st July and November 1916. They then fought at the Battle of Arras in April 1917 and the Passchendaele Offensive around Ypres in Belgium during the autumn of that year.

John's war changed in November 1917. The 21st Battalion was one of a number of British units sent to Italy to help the Italian Army in its fight against Austria-Hungary. John served on the River Piave and the Asiago Plateau until September 1918. This was a much quieter time for the battalion.

In France the Allies had begun an offensive against the Germans on the 8th August. It was very successful and the Allies began advancing rapidly. Several British units were returned to France to take part in what would become known as the Hundred Days Offensive; the 21st Battalion was one of them. They arrived in France in mid-September and first entered combat early the next month.

By this time John had been promoted to Sergeant. During the Hundred Days he carried out an act of bravery that was recognised with the award of the Military Medal. This took place during October, most probably during or around the Battle of the Selle between the 17th and the 26th. John's award was published in the London Gazette on the 17th June 1919. He had known about his award since at least the 1st March, when it was announced in an Army Order.

John survived the war, which ended on the 11th November. When he left the Army he held the rank of Acting Warrant Officer Class II. The rest of his life remains a mystery.

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