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harold fairhurstHarold Fairhurst was the son of Matthew Fairhurst b.1873, an insurance agent with the Refuge Assurance Society and sometime cotton finisher, and Mary Jane Fairhurst (née Austin) b.1872.

He appeared on the 1901 Census living with his parents, his mother’s sister, Susannah Austin and her brother Mark Austin at 45 Cameron Street, Bolton.

By 1911 the family had moved to 53 Cameron Street, Mark Austin was no longer living with them but Harold was working as a warehouse boy in a cotton mill and had a new brother, Herbert Austin Fairhurst b.1907.

Harold’s medical examination upon enlisting in the Army at Bolton on 11th September 1914 recorded him as being 5′ 4″ tall, 112 lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair. His occupation was given as labourer. Now a Private, he joined the newly raised 6th (Service) Battalion with the number 14998.

Harold Fairhurst sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth aboard HMT Braemar Castle on 15th June 1915 and was reported to be killed in action at Chunuk Bair on the 9th August 1915. He was just 19 years old.

The official despatch about the action states;

“The two battalions of the New Army chosen to hold Chunuk Bair were the 6th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. The first of these arrived in good time and occupied the trenches. Even in the darkness their commanding officer, Lieut-Colonel H.G. Levinge, recognized how dangerously these trenches were sited, and he began at once to dig observation posts on the actual crest and to strengthen the defences where he could; but he had not time given him to do much.

The second battalion, the Wiltshires, were delayed by the intricate country; they did not reach the edge of the entrenchment until 4am, and were then told to lie down in what was believed, erroneously, to be a covered position. At daybreak on Tuesday 10th August, the Turks delivered a grand attack from the Chunuk Bair Hill-Q against these two battalions, already weakened in numbers, though not in spirit, by previous fighting.

First our men were shelled by every enemy gun, and then, at 5.30am, were assaulted by a huge column consisting of no less than a full division, plus a regiment of three battalions.

The Loyal North Lancashire men were simply overwhelmed in their shallow trenches by sheer weight in numbers, whilst the Wiltshires who were caught in the open, were literally almost annihilated. The ponderous mass of enemy swept over the crest, turned the right flank of our line below, swarmed round the Hampshires and General Baldwin’s column, which had to which had to give ground and were only extricated with great difficulty and very heavy losses.

Towards this supreme struggle the absolute last two battalions from our general reserve were now hurried, but by 10am, the effort of the enemy was spent. Soon their shattered remnants began to trickle back, leaving a track of corpses behind them, and by nightfall, except prisoners or wounded, no live Turk was left upon our side of the slope.”

The following article later appeared in the Bolton Journal and Guardian.

Fate of Astley Bridge Soldier
Another member of the 6th Battalion, L.N.L. Regiment, Pte. (14,998) Harold Fairhurst has been reported missing after an engagement on August 9th. Pte. Fairhurst was 19 years of age, and before enlisting was employed in the warehouse of No. 2 North End Spinning Co. He was well known in the Astley Bridge district, where he resided with his parents at 53, Cameron-st. He enlisted on Nov. 10th, last year, and after training at Preston, Tidworth, Winchester and Blackdown, went to the Dardanelles about the middle of June.

fairhurst Helles

Helles Memorial

Rank: Private
Service No: 14998
Date of Death: 09/08/1915
Age: 19
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.
Memorial: HELLES MEMORIAL

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This article has been reproduced with kind permission from the DBBC young roots heritage project. The young people identified and researched the the servicemen pictured in a 1916 Bolton Journal and Guardian supplement who were killed at Gallipoli. You can visit their website by clicking on the DBBC logo.
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