1914 - 1918
The Military Medal with two bars.
It was awarded to Fred Whittaker of Oldham on 9th July 1917 for acts of bravery during the First World War.
Fred was one of only 185 men to be awarded the Military Medal and 2 bars during the First World War.
It is made more special by the fact his brother William was also awarded the MM. Both Fred and William’s medals were donated to the Museum of the Manchester Regiment in January 1994.
The First World War broke out in August 1914 and hundreds of thousands of men joined the Army within a few months. Neither Fred nor his brother William enlisted with them. Their Methodist beliefs meant that they were both pacifists, opposed to war.
Ultimately, Fred must have decided that he could justify joining the Army. On the 4th June 1915 he joined the Oldham Battalion of Comrades that was being formed to allow the men of the town to serve together.
Although he had been willing to enlist and serve his country, Fred’s beliefs would not let him take up arms. Instead he volunteered to become a stretcher bearer. His job would now be to find and evacuate wounded soldiers from the battlefield so that they could receive medical care.