28473 Private Harold Blezzard, MM.
8th Battalion, East Lancashire Regiment, later 38506 Private Machine Gun Corps. Awarded the Military Medal in the London Gazette of 9 July 1917. Blezzard was a native of Burnley, Lancashire.
The Burnley Express of 31 August 1918 reported:-
MODEST AND YOUTHFUL.
A Burnley Military Medallist.
Private Harold Blezard, formerly of the East Lancashire Regiment, and now in the M.G.C., a modest and youthful hero, who lives at 11, Lorne Street, was decorated with the Military Medal at the Burnley Palace on Wednesday evening. The Mayor, in the presence of a large and enthusiastic audience presented it. There were also on the stage the Deputy-Mayor, Major Whitehead, and Mr. H.G. Wrigley (Deputy-Town Clerk).
The Mayor read the record for which the award was made. "On April 28th last year the East Lancashire Regiment, in which the soldier was then a runner, was advancing against the Germans, and got out of communications at Gavrelle. Private Blezard carried two messages, one in the morning, and the other in the afternoon, under heavy fire, covering a distance of 500 yards on each occasion". Proceeding, his Worship said he was always more than pleased to pin the medal on the breast of any Burnley lad who might have the good fortune to win one. They knew well they were a great many men that deserved medals but never got them. They now met under very much brighter prospects than those under which they used to meet. We had had to pass through a long night, but thank God, the day was at last dawning. We had turned on the Huns, and they were being driven back towards their own country. May they soon get there! No doubt they would like us to forget many things. Their friends, the pacifists, were in a difficulty to find excuses for them, and to get us to forget the many things we in this country could never forget - the sinking of the Lusitania, the sinking of hospital ships with wounded on board, the murder of Nurse Cavell, and the fate of Captain Fryatt. They blamed them on the Kaiser and his crew, but it was not the Kaiser who poured cold water on the ground in the sight of our wounded prisoners after they had travelled three days and nights. That was not the work of the Kaiser and his officers. The German people did it, by German women. We all rejoiced to see the papers these mornings, and to read of the fine work our armies and our Allies were doing at the present time. There was no doubt about how it would end, but don't let us talk peace yet. We must beat them until they have nothing left to fight with, and then they must be tried for their deeds.
The medal having been pinned on the uniform of Private Blezard by the Mayor, the former replied thus to a demand for a speech:- "Ladies and Gentlemen - I thank you for your kind appreciation, but so far as a speech goes, you are unlucky."
Private Blezard is 21 years of age. He joined up in August 1916, and went on active service in December of that year. In civil life he was a weaver at Grey's Cameron Mill, and previously he attended Heasandford School. On March 28th of this year he was wounded in the fighting on the Somme by a machine-gun bullet in the calf of the right leg. He is a grandson of Mr. Blezard, mineral water manufacturer.