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Thomas Fishwick was born in 1884 in Whittle le Woods near Chorley to Henry and Alice Fishwick (nee Gregson). Henry and Alice married in 1883 and Thomas was their first born, he was followed by four more children, the others being; John (1886), George Irvine (1887-1888), William (1896) and Ellen (1900).

In 1901 the family lived on Chorley Old Road in Whittle le Woods. Henry Fishwick was employed in the local mill as a calico printer, the mill is likely to have been the Kem Mill Print Works. Thomas was a weaver while his brother John worked as a cotton reacher. The family had a boarder living with them by the name of Robert Brindle from Hull in Yorkshire and he was also a calico printer.

Ten years on and Henry and Alice had moved house to live at Lytham View in Whittle le Woods. Thomas, his brother William and sister Ellen were still with their parents and they also had a six year old girl called Catherine Fishwick living with them who is described as a niece. William the youngest son had now joined his father and brothers working in the mill.

The Kem Mill Print works was a dyeing and printing works for cloth produced in the local weaving mills. The mill normally had a workforce of around 170 people but by October 1914 they were apparently working on `short time` so there was only about half that number working at that time. At approximately 7.10pm on Wednesday, 14th October 1914, a huge fire broke out, the print works own fire brigade attended and two horse drawn pumps arrived from nearby Chorley to help out. Chorley apparently also had its own motorised fire engine but it was reported that this was not allowed to attend because it could not go out of the borough of Chorley. By the time the fire had been extinguished only the mill chimney and a few walls remained intact, everything else was gone, including the jobs.

At some point during 1915 Thomas and the rest of the family moved to Preston and his father became the landlord of the Forester`s Arms in Newton Street in the town. After moving to Preston Thomas went to work at Messrs Viney & Co. on Strand Road in Preston.Fishwick 1

There are no service papers available for Thomas so we do not know when he enlisted but his Medal Index Card indicates that he went to France after January 1916. He was given the number 29818 and after arriving in France he was posted to the 1st Battalion.

Sadly, Thomas was killed in action during a failed attack in the Mametz Wood area on the 25/26th September 1916.

The following information and photograph of Thomas appeared in the Preston Guardian a couple of weeks after his parents had been officially notified of their son`s death.

Fishwick 2

Thomas has no known grave so his name is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing on the Somme. He was awarded the British War and Victory Medals in recognition of his service to his country.

Thomas is remembered on the Roll of Honour in the Harris Museum and Art Gallery in Preston and his name also appears on the Clayton and Whittle le Woods War Memorial (below).

clayton war memorial clayton war memorial names
Rank: Private
Service No: 29818
Date of Death: 25/09/1916
Age: 32
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st Bn.

Janet Davis
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