Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

William Tynan

William Tynan :

William Tynan : Military Medal

Military Medal

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

The First World War broke out in August 1914 and William joined the Army on or around the 27th October. He enlisted in the Manchester Regiment and was posted to the new 11th Battalion. This unit was being formed by men who had enlisted 'for the duration of the war'. His service number was 13347.

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.

William 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.

William 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 don't know whether William was ever wounded or taken ill during his service.

The 11th Battalion stayed in Egypt until early July. They were then sent to France to fight on the Western Front. Here the battalion first fought around Arras, then moved south to take part in the Somme Offensive.

As part of this offensive the battalion took part in the Battles of Flers-Courcellette and Thiepval Ridge during September.

William was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery in action during this period. It was published in the London Gazette on the 9th December 1916. This suggests that he won the medal during Flers-Courcellette, between the 15th and the 22nd September. This battle was the first time tanks were used in warfare.

Unfortunately William's citation has not survived, so we don't know what he did to earn his medal.

In late 1916 and early 1917 the 11th Battalion was stationed on the Ancre River. They were involved in operations there during the winter.

Later in 1917 the battalion took part in the Battle of Messines during June, and then fought in the Passchendaele Offensive in the autumn.

In early 1918 William left the 11th Battalion. We don't know why. He was transferred to an unknown battalion of the South Lancashire Regiment and given the service number 63156. We don't know what he did between then and the end of the war in November 1918.

William was transferred to the Class Z Reserve and returned home on the 27th March 1919. 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 William's life remains a mystery. As well as his Military Medal, William was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the British War Medal and 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
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Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council