General Service Medal with ‘Iraq’ clasp
John was born on the 10th May 1886. He lived at 64 Gun Street in Ancoats with his father, Loreto, and mother, Alice. Loreto was born in Italy and worked as a labourer with the Manchester Corporation. The area of Ancoats they lived in was known as ‘Little Italy’ as a lot of people of Italian descent settled there in the 19th Century.
John was the oldest of six children. His siblings were Marie Rose, Lucile, Joseph, Winifred, and Alice. They also lived with John’s maternal grandfather, John Buldock, a retired tailor. John worked as a pavior’s apprentice, a job that involved laying paving stones.
John married Annie in 1909 and they had two children together. John was born in 1910, and Loreto was born in 1911. By that time they had moved to 72 Gun Street in Ancoats.
It is not known when exactly John joined the Army. He served in several battalions of the Manchester Regiment as well as the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) throughout the First World War. He was first placed into the 11th Battalion of the Manchester Regiment, and then the 13th Battalion, with the service number 3034. He was then transferred to the KOYLI and was given the service number 58317. Later he was transferred back to the Manchester Regiment and given two service numbers during this period, 90022 and 3514056.
The reason for the number of transfers is not clear, but it was likely to replace soldiers that have been killed or wounded in combat.
Records show that John was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal for his service during the First World War. He was also awarded the General Service Medal with ‘Iraq’ clasp, which indicates he served there between 1919 and 1920. The 2nd Battalion of the Manchester Regiment was sent to the region as part of the British Mandate of Iraq following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire.
John survived the war but little is known of his later life. He returned to his pre-war job working as a pavior. In 1939 he was living with his wife, Annie, and their five children at 3 Herschel Street in Moston, Manchester.
John’s General Service Medal was donated to the museum collections in 1948. It is not known what happened to his other medals.