1885 - 1916
CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916
Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916
Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Pte 34960 Joseph Furness
- Age: 21
- From: Higher Walton, Preston
- Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 20th Btn
- D.O.W. Sunday 6th August 1916
- Commemorated at: Peronne Cc Ext
Panel Ref: III.L.25
Joseph Furness was born on the 29th June, 1895 in Higher Walton, Preston and was the son of William Furness and his wife Mary Ellen (nee Fullalove). He was educated at Higher Walton Church of England School, Brook Street, Walton-Le-Dale.
The 1901 Census shows the family living at 38 New Road, Higher Walton, Walton-Le -Dale. His father William is aged 39, born in Higher Walton, Lancashire in 1862, his occupation is a stoker, whilst his mother Mary Ellen is aged 42, born in 1859 and is a housekeeper. They have five children listed in the household; Elizabeth aged 14, born 1887 is a cotton weaver, Stephen aged 11, born 1890, William aged 8, born 1893, Joseph aged 6, born 1895 and Edith aged 4, born 1897. All the children were born in Higher Walton.
His mother died in 1903.
In 1911, the family are living at Bank Terrace Hoghton Lane Walton, Preston. His father William has remarried and Joseph is still at home and employed as cotton weaver.
He was serving in the 20th Battalion, The King’s Liverpool Regiment as Private No 34960 when he was taken as a Prisoner of War at Guillemont on 30th July 1916.
30th July 1916
The 20th King’s Battalion Diary records:
“At 4.45am prompt the attack was launched. Unfortunately, a thick mist prevailed and it was impossible to see more than 10 yards ahead. This continued until about 6 o’clock when it lifted slightly, but it was still too hazy and impossible to see what was happening 100 yards ahead. This being so, it was not surprising to find that the attacking waves were experiencing great difficulty in maintaining connection.”
At 6am, Lt. RE Melly, No.1 Company, reported that his men had taken the German Maltz Horn trench.
At 6.30am, 2/Lt. CP Moore reported that he had 150 men, 4 Stokes Mortars and 2 Lewis Guns, but he was the only officer. He also said that due to the fog, both his “flanks were in the air” i.e. he was not in contact with neighbouring troops.
At 9.10am, Moore was still not in contact at his flanks, and now he had only 75 men, he had sent out 2 patrols and neither not returned. Later Moore established communication with the French on his right.
Around 10.00am, 2/Lt Musker reported that he had just over a company with him, but his left flank was suffering from German machine gun fire. Later he reported that he had over 30 casualties from the machine gun fire. His flanks were also “in the air”. No contact was made with this party until the remnants returned around 9.30pm, all runners sent were killed or missing. The War Diary states that this group had: ”held the ground won all day, and this permitted the consolidation of the ground won on the Maltz Horn ridge with little interference from the enemy”.
Relief for 20/Kings had been planned for 11.00pm, but it was 5.00am on the 31st July before it took place, ending a tragic day for the Liverpool Pals.
Casualties for 20th Battalion were 16 Officers and 357 Other Ranks
When darkness fell on the battlefield the 30th Division held a line from the railway on the eastern side of Trones Wood , southwards and including Arrow Head Copse, to east of Maltz Horn Farm. On this line the division was relieved by the 55th Division during the early hours of the 31st July.
The events of 30th July 1916 were regarded at the time as Liverpool’s blackest day. There follows an extract from The History of the 89th Brigade written by Brigadier General Ferdinand Stanley which gives an indication of the events of the day.
Well the hour to advance came, and of all bad luck in the world it was a thick fog; so thick that you couldn’t see more than about ten yards. It was next to impossible to delay the attack – it was much too big an operation- so forward they had to go. It will give some idea when I say that on one flank we had to go 1,750 yards over big rolling country. Everyone knows what it is like to cross enclosed country which you know really well in a fog and how easy it is to lose your way. Therefore, imagine these rolling hills, with no landmarks and absolutely unknown to anyone. Is it surprising that people lost their way and lost touch with those next to them? As a matter of fact, it was wonderful the way in which many men found their way right to the place we wanted to get to. But as a connected attack it was impossible.
The fog was intense it was practically impossible to keep direction and parties got split up. Owing to the heavy shelling all the Bosches had left their main trenches and were lying out in the open with snipers and machine guns in shell holes, so of course our fellows were the most easy prey.
It is so awfully sad now going about and finding so many splendid fellows gone.
The International Red Cross records show that Joseph died at No.12 Feld Lazarett (field hospital) on the 06th August, 1916 aged 21 probably as a result of his wounds received during the Guillemont attack. He was buried at Lieramont in France.
His body was later exhumed and he now rests at Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension in France.
Joseph's death was reported in the Lancashire Evening Post 2nd Aug 1918 (2 years after his death)
Pte J. FURNESS K.L.R., wounded on July 31st, 1916, died prisoner of war, August 6th, 1916.
Christ shall clasp the broken chain
Closer when we meet again.
From sorrowing Father and Mother and family, 37 Church Terrace, Higher Walton, near Preston.
Soldiers Effects to father William, Pension to mother Mary Ellen and father.
Joseph is also commemorated on the Roll of Honour at All Saints C.E. Church, Blackburn Road, Higher Walton PR5 4EA.
We currently have no further information on Joseph Furness, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.