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William Fairclough was the son of Robert Edward and Martha Fairclough of 2 Swan Street, Preston. His father was a railway plate layer. William had at least six brothers (as of 1901) and a sister;
Robert (b. c1887), Laurence (b. c1889) Samuel (b. c1891), Joseph (b. c1895) Mary (b. c1897) and Thomas (b. c1900).

At the time of his enlistment William was 23 years old and living with his wife Mary and their two children at 29 Young street, Ribbleton Lane, Preston. He had been working as a spinner in a cotton mill.

On 8th October 1915, William attested into the Territorial Force joining the 3/4th (Territorial) Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. He was embodied the same day and signed the waiver enabling his as a Territorial soldier to serve overseas. He listed his father as his legal next of kin.

At his enlistment medical the officer described him as being 5ft 6.5in tall and weighing 140lbs.

During his training William qualified as a ‘1st Class shot’. He sailed with the 10th wave of reinforcements to the 1/4th Battalion, from Southampton on 10th April 1916. He joined ‘B Company’ in the field on 1st May.

In July 1916 he was taken by the field ambulance to hospital due to scabies.

On 11th August 1916 he was wounded in action which resulted in 5 days in hospital. He then rejoined the Battalion.

On 9th September 1916 William  was wounded again. He did not recover from his wounds and died on 21st September in No. 2 Stationary Hospital, Abbeville.

Note: The CWGC states he died two days earlier.

Following his death a notice appeared in the local newspaper;


William hadn’t informed the Army that he was married, the initial notification being sent to his father. This was quickly rectified and Mary received her late husband’s personal effects to her latest address at 11 Young Street;

  • Prayer book
  • Rosary
  • Postcard
  • Disc
  • Photographs

By 1921 when Mary received the British War Medal and Victory Medal she appears to have remarried as signed Mary A. Southworth.

Private William Fairclough is buried in the communal cemetery at Abbeville.

Rank: Private
Service No: 4420
Date of Death: 19/09/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 1st/4th Bn.

Note: The newspaper refers to his brother being killed the previous April. This was Samuel. Private Samuel Fairclough, 21102 served with the 6th (Service) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire and was killed in Mesopotamia on 15th April 1916.

Paul McCormick
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2 Responses to 4420 PTE. W. FAIRCLOUGH. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Simon stuart says:

    I notice Williams brother died serving in Mesopotamia. My Great Grandfather also served with the regiment in the same area as well as Gallipoli. They may have served together. This site is fantastically informative to relatives who are so proud and glad to be able to have insight into our relatives, area and regiment. My Great Grandfather was Harry Partington from Harwood, Bolton. Recruited onto Fullwood for the war.

  2. LINDA says:

    just found this link to my great great uncle. My brother’s middle name and my uncle are named after William.
    thank you very much.

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