Sergeant Frederick William Furnival


Frederick Furnival © Dorking Advertiser
Photograph courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

Frederick Furnival – Baptism Entry from Parish Register ©

Frederick William Furnival was born on 4th August 1890 and was baptised on 15th November 1890 in Marshfield, Gloucestershire. He was the son of Frederick and Anne Agnes Furnival (nee Price).

According to the 1911 Australian Electoral Roles, Frederick lived in Patea District in New Zealand.

Frederick had a dark complexion, blue eyes and dark brown hair. He was over 5ft tall and weighed 131lb.

At the time of his enlistment he lived in Manutahi, Wellington, New Zealand. He worked as a farm hand for Mr Wills. According to the 1916 Dorking and Leatherhead Advertiser he had a teaching appointment.

Frederick Furnival enlisted on 28th May 1915 in Trentham into the “D” Company of the 2nd Battalion, the Trentham Regiment for the period of war. He joined immediately he heard that the Germans had been bombing London. He was a Private with regimental numbers: 26/1048 and 24/1048. He embarked on 9th October 1915 from Wellington, New Zealand to Suez, Egypt on HMNZT 31 Tahiti. He disembarked on 18th November 1915 in Egypt. On 21st November 1915 he joined the Expeditionary Force in Egypt. On 17th January 1916 Frederick proceeded to Ismalia in Egypt. On 6th November 1916, Pte Furnival embarked from Alexandria, Egypt to France. Pte Furnival became Lance Corporal of the “D” Company, of the 2/3rd Battalion, New Zealand Rifle Brigade on 22nd November 1916. From 1st September 1917 he was on leave in the UK. He re-joined the unit on 14th September 1917. Lance Corporal Furnival was promoted to Corporal on 2nd July 1917 and to Sergeant on 21st October 1917.

Frederick Furnival was killed in an action in the field on 20th May 1918 in France. He was hit on the head by a brick thrown up by the explosion of a huge enemy shell, and died within few minutes.

Frederick Furnival
Hebuterne Military Cemetery
Roll of Honour ©
Frederick Furnival Gravestone ©

He was buried at the Hebuterne Military Cemetery, France. His cemetery reference number is: III.C.2.

He received the British War and Victory medals and the 1914-15 Star.

Surrey and the War

Threefold Sacrifice

Among those who have been sadly stricken by the war is Mrs. Furnival, 64 Falkland Road, Dorking, who has lost one son killed in action, another wounded and in hospital, and a third missing, all in the space of less than two months. Her oldest son, Sergt. F. W. Furnival, New Zealand Rifle Brigade, was killed on May 20th. He was hit on the head by a brick thrown up by the explosion of an enemy shell, and died within a few minutes. He joined up in May 1915, immediately he heard that the Germans had been bombing London, and sailed from New Zealand, where he had a teaching appointment, in the following October. He first proceeded to Egypt with his regiment, and arrived in France in April 1916. He was shortly expecting to come home to take up his well-earned commission. A comrade writes “There is no need of my telling you how much we all thought of Fred and how we shall miss his cheery presence. There is not one of us who is not the better for having known him, and proud to remember him

as his friend.” In a very sympathetic letter to the bereaved mother the Chaplain says: “His absolute devotion to duty cost him his life. He knew the shells would be coming thick and fast in a few minutes, and it was his anxiety to see that all his men got safely in that cost him his life… You can be proud of him. He was a clean straight manly boy, a son of whom any parent could be proud, and there was genuine sorrow among the headquarters men when they knew he had gone. I buried him next morning in a military cemetery in Hebuterne. He sleeps his last long sleep among the apple trees in an orchard, and all around him lie others of England’s sons who have given their lives during the course of this war. I know what his officers thought of him; he was one of the oldest and most trusted of the N.C.O’s, and his men had absolute faith in him. As a soldier he is a great loss to us. But our sense of loss cannot be compared to your and those of your home.”

Mrs. Furnival’s second son Signaller L. T. [Thompson], Royal Naval Division is in hospital at Rouen suffering from a severe wound in the right foot received on May 15th, and her youngest son Pte. H. E. Furnival, of the Queen’s has been reported missing since March 23rd.

Furnival Brothers © 15th July 1918 Dorking Advertiser

Frederick Furnival Deceased Estate Notice © Archives New Zealand

Frederick’s brothers  Leonard Thomas and Harold Edgar were also killed in the First World War.

For more information on the Furnival family, see Harold Furnival’s page.

Born Marshfield, Gloucestershire
Son of Frederick and Agnes Furnival of 64 Falkland Road, Dorking
Regiment “D” Company. 2nd Battalion. 3rd New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Number 24/1048
Date of Death 20th May 1918
Place of Death France
Cause of Death Killed in action
Age 27
Cemetery Hebuterne Military Cemetery, Somme, France
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