Patrick Burke was born in County Mayo, Ireland, on 12 February 1872, the son of farmer Peter Burke and his wife Anne.Having moved to the Bradford area in 1899, he was a lodger with an Irish family Dennis and Mary Carney at 13 Lawson Street, Bradford two years later.On 6 September 1902 he married Mary Hannah Simpson in Calverley Church. One the marriage certificate, Patrick is given as Patrick Michael Burke.We can’t find where Patrick was on the night of the 1911 census but Mary Hannah and their three children – Edith, Constance and Florence – were at 8 Greenfield Lane. Mary is described as the head of the house but married and of private means.On 21 January 1921, the Shipley
Times & Expressreported:“Mr Patrick Daniel Burke (‘Patsy’) of 8 Greenfield Lane, Idle, was specially mentioned for his war services at a Welcome Home to the ex-service members of the Idle Constitutional Club.“An Irishman (and proud of it), he came to Bradford 1899 and joined the Bradford City Fire Brigade. He was stationed at Idle and remained in the brigade for seven years.“In 1914, when the war began, he was nearly 42 years of age but despite this he enlisted, joining the 9th East Lancs Regt.“He rose to be a corporal, went to
France early in 1915 and in the November of that year he was drafted to Serbia.“He took part in the big retreat of the Allied forces from Serbia at the end of 1915 and it was in that retreat that the 65th Brigade, of which his regiment was part, had to cover the retreat of the 10th Division.“On September 17th, 1916, he was awarded the French Medaille d’Honneur for being the last N.C.O. to retire from a counter-attack on Machine Gun Hill.“Shortly after this he was made an acting sergeant and a few months later, on 9th May 1917, he was awarded the Military Medal for his conspicuous bravery.
“When he was in charge of a detached post of six men on Hill 380 his position was attacked by the enemy. Two of his men were wounded and the post had to be evacuated.“Sgt Burke covered the retirement of the four unwounded and the two wounded men by throwing bombs until his supply ran out.“Later on, he counter-attacked with his reserves, retook the position and brought in and buried the enemy dead.“In addition to receiving the M.M. he had his rank of sergeant confirmed and was promoted to Acting Sgt Major.“He has also been recommended for a Serbian honour for having taken part in the first and last battles fought in that country in which British troops took part.“He was demobbed last February.”