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Walter Augustus Fernyhough was born in 1889 in Mickle Trafford in the Parish of Plemstall on the outskirts of Chester to Frederick and Mary Fernyhough (nee Harrison). His father Frederick, a farmer and miller had married Mary Harrison in the March quarter of 1868 at Great Boughton in Cheshire and Walter was the second youngest of 15 children, the others being;

  • Albert John (1870)
  • Rupert George (1872)
  • William Charles (1873)
  • Ernest Herbert (1875)
  • Frederick Harry (1876)
  • Frank Harvey (1877)
  • Arthur Septimus (1878-1879)
  • Frances Mary (1879)
  • Martha Jane (1881)
  • Sarah Emma (1884)
  • Richard Josiah (1884
  • Arthur Joseph (1886)
  • Charlotte Elizabeth (1887)
  • Walter Augustus (1889)*
  • Maude (1892)

The Census of 1891 records the family living together in Mickle Trafford where Walter`s father was a farmer and miller. His older siblings are listed as farmer`s sons and some of the younger children as scholars. Two years later Walter`s father died and at some point after his death Walter`s mother relocated to Llanferes in Denbighshire. In 1901 Mary Fernyhough, her son Ernest and two of her daughters, Martha and Charlotte were still resident in Llanferes, Ernest was a farm labourer and the two girls were both confectioners. Eleven year old Walter and his nine year old sister Maude had been sent to an Infant Orphan Asylum in Wanstead, Essex, the asylum being run by a charitable institution, both children described as `orphan inmates`.

By 1911 Walter and his sister Maude had returned to live with the family in Llanferes, also present was Ernest, a farm labourer, Frances and Martha, both confectioners and Charlotte who was a school teacher. It would appear that not long after the 1911 Census had been taken Walter left Wales to take up a teaching position at St. John`s National Parish School on Avenham Lane in Preston.

Avenham Lane in Preston was also the location of the local recruiting depot and early in 1915 Walter left his teaching post and went to enlist. He attested into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment and was issued with the service number 20004. Unfortunately his service papers have not survived so there is not much in the way of detailed information on his service but he was probably posted to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion at Felixstowe. After several months of training Walter was posted to the 6th Battalion, setting sail for Gallipoli on the 25th July 1915 with a batch of reinforcements. At some point during his service Walter had attained the rank of Sergeant.

The 6th Battalion came under the Command of the 38th Brigade of 13th (Western) Division. After the desperate fighting at Chunuk Bair during early August 1915 there was a readjustment of the Divisions and on the 31st August 1915 the 13th Division was despatched to Suvla Bay. At Suvla the Battalion was in reserve trenches in No. 3 Sector, however, a week later it was moved to the 31st Brigade headquarters just west of Chocolate Hill, taking over the trenches near Green Hill.

The death of Walter Augustus Fernyhough was recorded as being on the 8th September 1915. Information about how he perished was later recorded by the person who filled in the Submission Form for his name to be included on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum in Preston. The form states that; “most of the Officers in his trench had been killed. It became necessary to lead 30 men suffering from dysentery, as he himself was, to the base for treatment. He volunteered for this duty, on the undertaking of which, he was severely wounded three times, death resulting”.


There is no information to say what date he was wounded but according to the register of Soldier`s Effects it would appear that he died from his wounds on the Hospital Ship Beltana. As Walter has no known grave we have to assume that he was buried at sea because his name was later recorded on the Helles Memorial.

At some point during the weeks following his death, the local Preston newspaper, the Preston Guardian published the following article with photograph;20004 Sergeant Walter Augustus Fernyhough 6th Battalion

After the war Walter`s family took receipt of his 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals that he had been awarded. They would also have received his Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice for his country.

Pictured below, Sgt. Walter A. Fernyhough`s name as it appears on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum in Preston.

20004 Sergeant Walter Augustus Fernyhough 6th Battalion Harris RoH

Rank: Serjeant
Service No: 20004
Date of Death: 08/09/1915
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 6th Bn.

Janet Davis
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