Museum of the Manchester Regiment
The Men Behind the Medals

John White

John White :

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

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

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

On the 9th June 1913 John joined the 8th (Ardwick) Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This was a unit of the Territorial Force based in the Ardwick area of Manchester. As a Territorial John kept his civilian home and job and trained as a soldier for a short period every year. The battalion also went on an annual training camp, lasting around 2 weeks. His service number was 1773.

Soon after the 1914 camp the First World War broke out. The Territorial Force was called into service in early August, and the 8th Battalion was sent overseas on the 10th September. They arrived in Alexandria, Egypt, on the 25th.

After less than a month in Egypt, on the 19th October John was sent to Cyprus. This was a Turkish colony administered by Britain. As Britain and Turkey were now at war John and the 8th Battalion took part in the British annexation of the island. They stayed there until the 23rd January 1915 when they returned to Egypt.

John went to war in May 1915 when the 8th Battalion landed in Gallipoli. They landed on the 6th and were sent into the front lines after 4 days. The battalion spent 12 days at the front, holding the line under Turkish fire. They were then relieved and sent to the rear. The battalion was able to get some rest, but they were also used as labourers to build roads.

After 4 days of this, on around the 26th May, the 8th Battalion returned to the front. On the 4th June they took part in the attack on the village of Krithia. This had been intended to be captured during late April when the first Allied troops landed, but the Turks had been able to hold them off.

The 8th Battalion advanced further than most British units, but this meant when the Turks counter attacked they were cut off and forced to withdraw. The 8th Battalion lost around 350 men on that day. Many of them will have been friends of John.

The battalion's next major operation began on the 7th August, again near Krithia. It was intended to divert Turkish troops away from the British landings at Suvla Bay. The British launched an attack, but were forced back by a Turkish counterattack. The Turks continued to attack for the next 2 days, inflicting many casualties on the British.

This would be the heaviest fighting John and the 8th Battalion saw in Gallipoli. Although the Turkish defenders still shelled and sniped at the British, over the next few months the weather and disease were perhaps the main threats to John and his comrades. The 8th Battalion was evacuated back to Egypt in December.

We don't know when, or exactly what happened to him, but John was taken ill during his service. He did not recover, and on the 24th March 1916 he was discharged as 'no longer physically fit for war service'. He was awarded a Silver War Badge, with serial number 32080, to show that his discharge was honourable.

The rest of John's life remains a mystery.

Museum of the Manchester Regiment
c/o Portland Basin Museum
Portland Place
Heritage Wharf

Telephone: 0161 342 5480
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Esmee Fairbairn Collections Fund logo
Army Museums Ogilby Trust logo
Trustees of the Manchester Regiment Museum & Archive and Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council