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BYKER

Fenwick, J., Spr., 1915
On the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial is the name of 11883 Sapper John Fenwick, serving with the Royal Engineers who died 12/03/1915.

The following has been submitted by Maureen McEwan, granddaughter to John Fenwick:

John Best Fenwick, 11883, Royal Engineers.

Killed in action on March 12th 1915 in Flanders. He is said to have been blown up by a mine. He was a sapper and many sappers were involved in laying mines and worked in close proximity to the trenches where the Germans were also laying mines.

John Best Fenwick was born in Byker, Northumberland, on the 18th November 1879. His parents were John Best Fenwick and Sarah [nee Dixon Purvis]. He was the eldest of eight children, with six sisters and a brother.

He married Mary Igoe on the 1st January 1907 at St Wilfred's RC Church, Gateshead. Their home was at 12 Sunbeam Terrace, Old Fold, County Durham. Their children were John Patrick, William Best, James, Henry Purvis and Sarah. He was a qualified fitter and turner and worked at a machining business called Clarke Chapman's before his call-up. How sad that that is the sum total of what is known of him.

My mother, his youngest child, was 14 months old when he was killed and she was often sad about never knowing him. She only once saw a photograph of him, when she was about four or five. A photograph was produced of a man in uniform and shown her with the question 'do you know who this is?'. She was always a bit nervous of her paternal grandmother and didn't know how to respond. So she said 'he's a funny looking fellow'. The photo was immediately put away and she never saw it or another again. She always blamed herself for no-one in the family having a photo of him. She died three years ago aged ninety six. She and my father worked for a long time to find a record of him and it was through their efforts that he is now on the Ypres War Memorial - Menin Gate Addenda Panel 60, for those with no known grave.

Should anyone else have an interest in him, they are welcome to contact me at maudymac@westnet.com.au. There may be some descendants of one of his siblings, which would be wonderful. Maureen McEwan


The CWGC entry for Sapper Fenwick

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk