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Telling the stories of those remembered on Fulwood’s war memorial in Harris Park

Posted on - 8th November, 2020 - 7:00am | Author - | Posted in - Fulwood, History, Nostalgia, Preston News
The Fulwood war memorial is within the grounds of Harris Park
The Fulwood war memorial is within the grounds of Harris Park

One of Preston’s war memorials is able to be accessed this weekend.

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Tucked away in Harris Park, in the grounds of the former orphanage, is the Fulwood war memorial.

As part of the city’s Remembrance celebrations historian Janet Davis has compiled this look at the men the memorial pays tribute to. Over to you Janet….

Researching war memorials can be fraught with all sorts of difficulties, as many who have done so will confirm. Many Memorials contain just the surname and an initial, some may have service details, others not.

Fortunately, the early Harris Orphanage school admission records are online which has helped enormously with this project and all of the men named on the Memorial appear in those records at some point with most having a date of birth noted which again was extremely helpful in identifying the correct individuals.

The Fulwood war memorial being unveiled
The Fulwood war memorial being unveiled

S/4811 Private William Baird; 7th (Service) Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. William was born on the 22nd April 1889 at 193 St. George`s Road in Preston. His father was Thomas McNeilance Baird and his mother was Margaret (nee Porter). William had four brothers and two sisters; Henry Porter (1880), Thomas McNeilance (1882-1897), Norah (1884-1896), Cyril (1886), Daisy (1892-1894) and Norman (1895). William`s father died in early 1897 and William and his brother Cyril were both admitted to the Orphanage on the 22nd March 1897. William was discharged from the Orphanage In October 1903 when he reached the age of 14. The date of his enlistment into the army is unknown (no surviving papers) but he sailed for France on 7th October 1915 where on arrival he was posted to the 7th Battalion Seaforth Highlanders. William was killed in action on the 12th October 1916 during an attack on the Butte de Warlencourt. History notes that the 7th Battalion was enfiladed with machine gun fire as soon as the attack began. William was initially buried on the battlefield and then in 1920 his remains found and identified. William was finally laid to rest in Warlencourt British Cemetery.

Joseph Calder

200845 Private Joseph Harold Calder “C” Coy, 1/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Joseph was born in Preston in 1896 the son of Thomas and Margaret Calder (nee Booth). Thomas Calder came from Hertfordshire and Margaret from Golborne near Wigan and they arrived in Preston not long after they married in 1882, settling in Emmanuel Terrace. Joseph had eight siblings but sadly four of those did not survive to adulthood. The four that did were; Walter Joseph Thomas (1885), Alice Annie (1889), Charles Arthur (1892) and Matilda May (1893). Joseph`s father was a yard foreman employed by the Greenbank Railway Company in Preston but sadly he died in a tragic accident in January 1901 which in turn resulted in Matilda and William being admitted to the Orphanage later that year, followed by Joseph in February 1902. Margaret Calder then remarried to John Beardsworth in 1905 and subsequently, Joseph, Matilda and William returned to live with their mother and stepfather at 281 Fylde Road.  Joseph enlisted at Preston on the 23rd October 1914 and sailed for France with the 1/4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment on the 4th May 1915. Joseph was killed in action on the 28th June 1916 along with nine other men during a raid on enemy trenches just south of Arras. Sadly, his body was never found and so his name was later inscribed on the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

676690 Gunner William Clarkson, “C” Bty, 275th Bde Royal Field Artillery. William was born in Preston on the 23rd December 1895, the son of Alexander Jacob Clarkson (born in Kirkham) and Annie Louisa Cownley. They married at St. James` Church in Preston on the 13th October 1888. William had four siblings; Alexander (1890-1892), Edith (1893), George Reginald (1894) and Ethel (1899). William`s father died in early 1908 and then William and his sister Ethel were both admitted to the Orphanage on the 27th April 1908. The records note William was discharged from the Orphanage on the 24th June 1910 and Ethel left in August 1914. Again, no service records available but we know that William joined the Royal Field Artillery at some point and embarked for France after January 1916. He was killed in action on the 10th April 1918 and as his body was never recovered his name was later inscribed on the Loos Memorial to the Missing. William`s brother also served; 44892 Pte George Reginald Clarkson, 4th Battalion The King`s (Liverpool) Regiment, sadly, he was killed in action on the 3rd February 1917, his name later inscribed on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme.

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10325 Private George Durham, 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. George Durham was born in Preston on the 17th May 1894 to Henry and Ellen Durham (nee Noblett). His parents, both from Preston, married 28th March 1891 and went to live in Thornton Street. George had four surviving siblings; William (1891), Elizabeth (1896), Henry a.k.a. Harry (1898) and Mary (1903). George`s parents both passed away in mid-1904 when they were just 37 years old and then on the 31st October 1904 George and his sister Elizabeth were both admitted to the Orphanage, they were followed ten months later by the youngest brother Harry. Both George and Elizabeth had left the Orphanage before 1911 and it would appear that George joined the Army not long after. He sailed for France on the 12th August 1914 with the B.E.F. as a member of the 1st Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Sadly, George was killed in action at Gheluvelt near Ypres on the 31st October 1914. George`s remains were never recovered and so his name was later inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. His two brothers also served, William with the King`s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and Henry (Harry) initially with 10th Bn Loyal North Lancashire Regiment then Worcestershire Regiment. William and Harry survived the war but both were discharged due to wounds, William in March 1915 and Harry in March 1919.

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S/37375 Private John Jackson “A” Coy, Army Service Corps, 82nd Infantry Brigade. John was born at 34 Tenterfield Street in Preston on the 3rd July 1896 to John and Elizabeth Jane Jackson (nee Titterington). He was one of six children born to the couple, the others being; Millicent (1893), Elizabeth Jane (1894), William (1899), Annie (1904) and Thomas (1907). John`s father passed away in 1907 and then in April 1908 both William and Annie were admitted to the Harris Orphanage and they were followed by John on the 17th March 1909. John was discharged from the Orphanage around 1911/12 .On the 10th September 1914 he enlisted into the Army Service Corps, his papers noting that he embarked for France on the 25th October 1914. On the 22nd August 1916 he was admitted to a hospital in France suffering from Hematemesis (vomiting blood), from there he came back to England and spent 84 days in hospital in Cheltenham. He did not return to the front but by January 1917 he was back in hospital again, this time in Southport, said to be suffering from TB. He was officially discharged from service in March 1917 as being `unfit`. Sadly, John passed away on the 1st June 1917 aged 21 years and was buried with full Military Honours in Preston (New Hall Lane) Cemetery.

Daniel Keevil

21009 Private Daniel Keevill 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Daniel was born in Preston on the 16th November 1890, the son of Paul and Catherine Keevill (nee Brown). Daniel had two surviving siblings, namely; Frank (1891) and Annie (1892). Admittance to the Harris Orphanage in most cases happened because one or both parents had passed away, however, in this case it was because Daniel`s father had been admitted to Ribchester Workhouse Hospital leaving his mother to care for three young children. Daniel and Frank were both admitted to the Orphanage on the 25th February 1901 and then Daniel was discharged in February 1905 and Frank in December 1906, both returning to live with their mother. Daniel enlisted into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment around May 1915 and then on the 14th November 1915 he sailed for the Dardanelles to join the 6th Battalion. By late December the 6th Battalion LNL had withdrawn to Egypt to do canal defence work at Port Said before sailing for Mesopotamia on the 13th February 1916. Sadly, Daniel was posted missing in action on the 9th April 1916, his death later confirmed. His body was never recovered and his name was inscribed on the Basra Memorial to the Missing.

GS/75350 Private Frederick William Nelson, “A” Coy, 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers (The London Regiment). Frederick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on the 27th November 1898, his father, also named Frederick William was from Preston and his mother Jane (nee Jones) was from Cheshire. The pair married in Preston in 1897 and then moved to Newcastle upon Tyne where Frederick William Snr. was engaged as a commercial traveller. Two more children arrived; Henry (1900) and Leslie Stuart (1903) and then the family returned to Preston. Frederick`s father died in 1909 and then all three brothers were admitted to the Orphanage together on the 23rd May 1910. Frederick was officially discharged in January 1914 but stayed at the Orphanage having been given a job working in the grounds. Henry left in 1915 and then Leslie Stuart around 1917, both returning to their mother. Frederick enlisted into the Army at some point (no papers) and after a brief period with the Royal Sussex Regiment he was transferred to `A` Coy, 10th Battalion Royal Fusiliers. In mid-March 1918 the 10th Bn Royal Fusiliers had returned from the trenches near Ypres to Forrestor Camp, the camp being under constant shell fire. On the 21st March 1918 Frederick, along with 13 other men, died when a shell hit the Nissan Hut where he and `A` Company were resting; 11 men were also wounded. Frederick was laid to rest in The Huts Cemetery the following day. 

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35425 Private James Swift 7th Battalion (Westmorland & Cumberland) Border Regiment. James, a Longridge lad, was born on 11th January 1899 the son of Thomas and Mary Jane Swift (nee Woods). He was the youngest of seven children, the others being; Bertha (1883), John (1885), Thomas (1887), William Ernest (1891), Mary Ann (1892) and Hugh (1895). Prior to 1900 the family lived at Green Lane in Dilworth, Longridge; James` father employed as a quarryman. Sadly, his father died in January 1900 and a few months later his siblings Mary Ann and Hugh were admitted to the Orphanage, James followed them five years later when he was six years old. James remained in the Orphanage until 8th August 1913 when he was 14 years old. He attested into the Army on the 31st January 1917, spending a number of months transferring between various Training Reserve Battalions before eventually being sent to France on the 17th February 1918 where he joined the 7th Battalion Border Regiment. James was killed in action on the 23rd March 1918 when his Battalion was involved at the start of the German Spring Offensive. James has no known grave and so his name was later inscribed on the Arras Memorial to the Missing.

7071 Private Bernard Taylor, 15th Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps. Bernard was born in Manchester on 4th October 1889 to Thomas Taylor, a hosiery salesman from Leicester and Alice Ann (nee Green) from Northumberland. Bernard`s father died in 1891 and not long after he died, his mother arrived in Preston. Sadly, she died in Preston in 1897 and then on the 2nd December 1897, Bernard and his only surviving sibling Lilian ((1888) were both admitted to the Orphanage together. The two of them were still at the Harris Orphanage in 1901, Bernard`s occupation noted as a tailor and Lilian as a `monitress` By 1911, Bernard, who was now 21 years old, was still at the Orphanage and working as a groom in the stables. There are no surviving service papers for Bernard but he did join the R.A.M.C. at some point and landed in France on the 17th August 1914 as part of the British Expeditionary Force. Sadly, Bernard died as a result of wounds received during the Battle of Albert on the 21st August 1918. He was buried in Foncquevillers Military Cemetery. His married sister, Mrs. Lilian Singlehurst was named as his only legatee.

The Fulwood War Memorial in Harris Park
The Fulwood War Memorial in Harris Park

32012 Sergeant Robert Warren Tye, M.M. 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales Volunteers (South Lancashire) Regiment. Robert`s mother was Sarah Tye (nee Mullin) and she gave birth to Robert in the workhouse in Preston on the 1st October 1883. Unfortunately there are a number of question marks over whether Sarah was actually married; research suggests that she was not. Robert had an older brother John born 1881 in Bury and a younger brother James Charles born in Preston in 1890. Robert was admitted to the Harris Orphanage on the 10th April 1889 when he was 6 years old and remained there until 14th January 1898. At this point he enlisted into the Dragoon Guards, his age noted as 14 years and 6 months. He was discharged from the Army on the 4th December 1912 after serving for 13 years and 351 days; he also served in the 2nd Boer War. At the outbreak of WW1 Robert immediately re-joined the Dragoon Guards as a Reservist, signing his papers on the 13th August 1914. He remained serving at home until sailing for France on the 14th December 1916, on arrival he was posted to the 2nd Battalion Prince of Wales Volunteers. In August 1917 in the trenches near Railway Wood (Ypres) Robert was recommended for and later awarded the Military Medal for “displaying great bravery and devotion to duty in helping to rescue and bring in wounded comrades”. Sadly Robert was killed in action on the 13th August 1917 and his body never recovered, his name later inscribed on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing. On the 18th February 1918 Robert`s mother Sarah was presented with her sons` Military Medal in a ceremony at Fulwood Barracks in Preston.

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8934 Private James Winstanley, 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. James was born in Preston on the 18th April 1889, the son of William and Jane Winstanley (nee Sharples). His father died in 1891 and then on the 24th April 1893 James went into the Orphanage. He left the Orphanage in 1903, aged 14. From there James went straight into the Army as a boy soldier, joining the Gordon Highlanders. He was still serving at the outbreak of WW1 and went to France on the 13th August 1914 with the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders. James was captured at Bertry on the 28th August 1914 during the Retreat from Mons and spent the rest of the war as a prisoner in various POW camps. He survived the ordeal and was released later in November 1918 and returned to England, settling in the Birmingham area. He married Adeline Slade in January 1919 and went on to become a Policeman in Birmingham. On the 1st September 1954, the Birmingham Daily Post did an interview with James, the article noting that a couple of years after the war James had visited Preston and had called at the Harris Orphanage. He mentioned his great surprise at seeing his name on the WW1 Memorial and that he had pointed out the mistake to the Harris authorities. He put the mistake down to him being reported missing for three months and also stated in the article that he still had a photograph of the Memorial with his name on it, something that he treasured. The name of James Winstanley remains on the Memorial to this day. He died in 1968 and his wife passed away the following year.

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