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Thomas was the son of Edward Fishwick b.1861, a self actor minder in a cotton mill, and Ellen Fishwick née Massey b.1863.

He first appeared on the 1901 census living at 30 Lee Street, Farnworth with his parents and siblings Mary b.1887, John b.1890, Peter b.1894 and James b.1900. By 1911 he was living at 39 Victoria Street, Moses Gate, Farnworth with his widowed mother and siblings John and Peter. Thomas was working as a cotton mule piecer and attended Cawdor Street Wesleyan Mission.

A change of occupation sometime between 1911 and 1914 saw Thomas employed at Wet Earth Colliery in Greater Manchester.

When war broke out in August 1914 Thomas enlisted as a Kitchener volunteer at Farnworth and was posted into the 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 17834.

Private Fishwick sailed for Gallipoli from Avonmouth aboard HMT Braemar Castle on 15th June 1915 and unfortunately would be killed during the action at Chunuk Bair on the 9th August 1915.

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.”

In December 1915, with no news about the fate of Thomas being received back home, the following article was placed in the Farnworth Weekly Journal;

NO NEWS YET

Mrs. Fishwick of 39, Victoria-st., Farnworth, has not yet received any word of her son Pte. Thomas Fishwick, aged 18 years, of the 6th Battalion L.N.L. (No. 17834), who was officially posted as missing on August 9th in the Dardanelles. Pte. Fishwick, who used to work at the Wet Earth Colliery of the Clifton and Kearsley Coal Company, enlisted a year ago, and went out to the Dardanelles in May. His last message home was a field service card dated July 31st., when he stated that he was all right. Prior to that he said he had just come out of the trenches, that the conditions were not bad,and that they had had very few casualties. Mrs. Fishwick would be pleased to hear from any soldier who has information about her son’s whereabouts, or who saw him between July 31st and August 9th. Another of her sons is in the army – Driver Peter Fishwick, of the R.F.A., who enlisted in January from the Moses Gate goods yard.

It would later be confirmed that Thomas died that day at Chunuk Bair. He was just 18 years old and is remembered on the Helles Memorial and on the Farnworth War Memorial in the UK.

Thomas’ next of kin would receive his 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal. They would also receive a memorial plaque and scroll bearing his name in recognition of his sacrifice. Thomas’ war gratuity was split between his mother, brother Peter (wounded in Royal Field Artillery) and brother-in-law William Entwistle.

fishwick-helles

Helles Memorial

Rank: Private
Service No: 17834
Date of Death: 09/08/1915
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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