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No service papers exist for this Patrick Wire, but two significant documents relating to him show that his parents were both illiterate. His birth was recorded in Bolton on 29th June 1897 to James Wire a Journeyman Bricklayer and Mary Ann Wire formerly Hagan of 2 Bolling St, Bolton. The surname on his birth certificate is spelled as ‘Wire’. His mother who notified the birth five weeks later signed using the familiar ‘X’ tending to support that she could not read or write. His father James also signs the 1911 census with his ‘X’ mark. Thus, I believe we have the reason for the different spelling of the surname of Wire/Wyre. For this purpose the surname shown on his surviving medal and how he chose to spell it in later life is to be used.

Prior to his army service Wyre was employed in the local cotton mills of Messrs James Marsden & Sons Ltd, Atlas Mills, Bolton.

Appearing in the Bolton Chronicle of Saturday 24th April 1915 under the heading of ‘Pals’ and Artillery Enlistments, now, Patrick Wyre is shown as having enlisted during that week and resides at 13 Hanover Street, Bolton. He is one of a large number of recruits enlisting into the local Pals Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. No other person enlisting is shown with this name in the local press from this date and to the end of the year, when a change in recruitment practices ceased the enlistment lists from appearing in the local papers.

Starting with his WWI Medal Index Card containing the briefest of details, it confirms that his rank was Corporal and that he was issued with the British war medal and victory medal.  It does contain the four figure army number 4937 showing prior service to 1917, together with his post 1917 number 202099.  The medal roll for the above medals also show his rank as corporal in his regimental page entry.

He was awarded the Military Medal and bar for his services in France & Flanders in September 1917 & April 1918. His Military Medal card is stamped indicating the awards were for France, and annotated for the bar to the award. The award of the Military Medal as Private appeared in the London Gazette of 14th January 1918.

His extant Military Medal is impressed with the following details but his other two medals have become separated from his gallantry award.

202099 PTE P.WYRE 1/4 L.N.Lanc: R –T.F.

The Bolton Journal & Guardian of 27th December 1918 is accompanied by a photograph of Wyre and shows his address now as 26 Ormrod Street, Bolton it states he went out to France in March 1916. His awards were for, taking his platoon into action without an officer at Ypres on 20th September 1917, this date was for the Battle of Menin Road Ridge.

The War Diary of the 1/4th Bn states:

” the left battalion of the 165th Infantry Brigade was held up before GALLIPOLI, as a result of which an enemy machine gun on Hill 37 was playing havoc with the waves in the valley in which we were advancing” .

This no doubt one of the very same Machine gun posts attacked and captured during the battle that day by Cpl Thomas Dowbekin 1/5th Bn L.N.L.

The bar to his Military Medal with rank also as Private appeared in the London Gazette of 7th October 1918 and was awarded for bravery and devotion to duty at the defence of Givenchy on 9th April 1918 during the second phase of the German Spring Offensive, when the German army attacked the allied line in force.

The 1/4th LNL were positioned in the southern sector at Givenchy, the enemy pushed forward  on the first day taking the villages of Givency and Festubert, but an allied counter attack was made whereby the villages were re taken and several hundred enemy were captured.

Wyre now as Corporal appears in the weekly casualty lists for 24th September 1918 as being wounded. The list is subdivided by date and on page 19 is shown in the daily list for 18th September 1918. According to the 1/4th War Diary for this period the regiment was at Vaudricourt and company training that week without any battle casualties from 15th -18th September. Presumably Wyre was wounded prior to appearing on the 18th, the week previously the battalion had suffered 18 O.R. wounded besides the killed or gassed by heavy shelling.

His name appears on The Fine Cotton Spinners & Doublers Association Ltd of the Great War Roll of Honour, his name appearing above that of Pte Harry Woodcock M.M. of the 5th Bn L.N.L. who was also employed by the company.

After the war he is listed in the local electoral registers in the early 1920’s as still living at 26 Ormrod Street with his mother Mary Ann Wyre.

Garry Farmer
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Garry Farmer

Garry's grandfather and great uncles served in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment during WWI, 2 Gt uncles were KIA at Ypres and Mesopotamia. A regular worldwide battlefield visitor and exhibitor at the OMRS Convention he spent 36 years as a civil and RAF policeman and served on operations in Bosnia, Cyprus, Kenya, North, Central and South America.
Garry Farmer
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