Fairhurst T

THOMAS FAIRHURST (c.1894-1915)

2751 Private Thomas Fairhurst, 1/6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry died of wounds 19 October 1915.  He is buried at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France and commemorated on the St. Helens Colliery Memorial Cottages.  He was 21 years old.[1]

Family Details

Thomas Fairhurst was born c.1894, at Howden (presumably Howden-le-Wear) near Crook, the son of Margaret Fairhurst.  The 1911 census records Thomas living with his grandmother, 71 year old Mary Ann Craig at 27 High Thompson Street, Witton Park, Bishop Auckland.  He was 16 years old and worked as a coal miner (helper-up).  Lydia and Alice Fairhurst also lived there and it is assumed that they were his sisters. [2]  In 1901, Thomas and his grandmother Mary Ann were visitors to Mathew and Isabella Brown, 13 Albion Street, Witton Park. [3]

Service Record

The service record of Private Thomas Fairhurst or the 1/6th DLI War Diary have not been researched.  Captain R.B. Ainsworth [4] and Harry Moses [5] publications have been used as primary sources.

The 1/6/DLI formed part of the 151st Brigade, part of the 50th (Northumbrian) Division which served from April 1915 until the end of the War on the Western Front.  It arrived just as the German army attacked Ypres using poison gas for the first time and rushed into battle, the Battle of St. Julien (24 April-4 May 1915) then Battles of Frezenberg (8-13 May) and Bellewaarde (24-25 May).  These 3 are known as the Second Battle of Ypres. [6]

Private T. Fairhurst entered France 27 June 1915. [7]  6/DLI was in a quiet sector of the front, Kemmel to Armentieres where the battalion occupied trenches in front of Kemmel Hill, known as Regent Street.

27 June: billets at Locre

3-8 July: Regent Street trenches

9-14 July: Kemmel Hill area, Brigade support, night working parties

15 July: marched to Armentieres

17 July: Armentieres reached.  Billets at Blue Blind Factory.

18-23 July: trenches at Chapelle d’Armentieres:

“Quiet sector, in First World War terms, is not one which is completely inactive.  Desultory artillery fire may be experienced.  The early morning and dusk “hate” bombardment were invariably fired on both lines.  Snipers were always active and a soldier needed to keep his head down when going about his daily tasks in the trenches.” [8]

The pattern of life in and out of the trenches continued until 10 November 1915 when the battalion was relieved and marched to billets at La Creche, near Bailleul where it stayed for a month enjoying its first rest since embarkation.[9]  Private Fairhurst didn’t make it.

“On the 8th October Private W. Hutchinson of Crook, a member of Z Company was killed when walking up the fire trench.  The following night, a patrol comprising Corporal Moyle and Privates Coglan, Pybus, Brown and Fairhurst, all of W Company set out from our lines, first to call at a listening post in front of trench 83.  Having done so, they moved off to find another listening post in front of Trench 82.  They never arrived at this post and it is probable that they stumbled into the German lines and were taken prisoner.  Navigation in No Man’s Land at night was never easy, particularly without assistance of moon or stars and identifiable landmarks.” [10]

Was this 2751 Private T. Fairhurst?  CWGC gives the date of death for 2751 Private Fairhurst as 19 October 1915.  SDGW accords with this date and records his death as “Died of Wounds.”  Perhaps an explanation could be that (if it is indeed the same soldier) at a later date, the patrol returned with Private Fairhurst wounded and he died later.  This may not have been reported in the battalion war diary.

During the tour of duty in the front line sector, Kemmel to Armentieres, between 15 July and 10 November 1915, 6/DLI lost 2 officers and 14 other ranks. [11]

2751 Private Thomas Fairhurst was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War and Victory medals.[12]

Burial

Private T. Fairhurst is buried at grave reference XX.F.11, the Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France.  The cemetery holds over 7,650 burials, 3185 identified. [13]

References:

[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1911 census

[3] 1901 census

[4] “The Story of the 6th Battalion, the Durham Light Infantry”  Capt. R.B. Ainsworth 1919

[5] “The Faithful Sixth” H. Moses 1995

[6] www.1914-1918.net/50div.htm & http://www.warpath.orbat.com/battles_ff/1915.htm

[7] The Medal Roll card index

[8] Moses p.46

[9] Ainsworth p.10

[10] Moses p.48

[11] Officers and Soldiers Died in the Great War

[12] Medal Roll card index

[13] CWGC

Photographs:

FAIRHURST T. Headstone

FAIRHURST T.
Headstone

FAIRHURST T. Medal Roll

FAIRHURST T.
Medal Roll

One thought on “Fairhurst T

  1. Pingback: ST.HELEN’S | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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