Rank:


Private, Rifleman

Service No(s):


3152, 304168, 10744

Regiment:


Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment), London Regiment

Unit:

2/7th Battalion (Middlesex Regiment), 1st/5th Battalion (London Regiment)

Returned:

No

Place of birth:

Holloway, Islington

Occupation:

Caterers Clerk

Date of death:

03/05/1917

Cause of death:

Grave or panel reference:

Name of father:

Charles William Fishwick

Name of siblings:

Hildred Madeline, Alice Lilian, Charles James,Thomas Eden, Clara Eden, Edith Mary, Alfred John

Name(s) of children:

Died:

Yes

Date of birth:

Place of enlistment:

Hornsey

Event:

France and Flanders

Age at death:

21

Cemetery or memorial:

Arras Memorial

Other memorial:

St. Mellitus Church, J. Lyons and Co. First World War Memorial

Name of mother:

Mary Jane Fishwick (née Raby)

Name of spouse:

Address:

26 Tabley Road (1901 Census)
79 Tollington Park (1911 Census)

Biography:

Edward Alfred Fishwick was born in Holloway in 1896 to Charles William and Mary Jane Fishwick (née Raby). 

Edward first appears in the 1901 census, living at 26 Tabley Road with his parents and four siblings Hildred Madeline, Alice Lilian, Charles James and Thomas Eden. However a more extensive look at the birth records reveals that the Fishwicks also had three other children (Clara Eden, Edith Mary and Alfred John) who all sadly passed away in childhood. Despite their losses, the family seemed to be doing well for themselves. Edward’s father Charles was employed as a banker’s clerk, a well paying role at the time. The extended family were well known in the community too; Edward’s uncle, James Thomas Fishwick was the proprietor of the Prince Edward pub on Parkhurst Road, which was known as “Fishwick’s” to locals.

By 1911, the family had moved to no. 79, Tollington Park, a house just next door to the New Court Congregational Church. However, arguably the most important shift in the family was that the mother Mary Jane, was now the head of the house, making her living as a boarding house keeper. Edward’s father, however, was notably absent, living alone at a house on Thane Villas, just a few streets away from the rest of his family. The census records his marital status as ‘Married, Living apart’. It is not clear what circumstances led him to leave the family home. 

Nevertheless, the boys of the family took after their father and found employment as clerks: Edward and Thomas both worked as caterers clerks (most likely for J. Lyons & Co), while the eldest Charles worked as a hardware and export merchant’s clerk. His sisters Hildred and Alice were employed too, as a draper’s assistant and lady’s companion respectively.

Just as Edward and Thomas had worked in the same occupation at J. Lyons & Co, they were both called up to fight when war broke out. Records show that Thomas joined the Royal Naval Air Service in November 1916 but the exact date of Edward’s enlistment is unknown. However, we do know that Edward enlisted at Hornsey and was initially assigned to the 2/7th Battalion of Duke of Cambridge’s Own Regiment (also known as the Middlesex Regiment), which had its headquarters on Priory Road. In July 1916, Edward was then transferred to the 1/5th Battalion of the London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade), to make up numbers after it had suffered heavy losses during the attack on Gommecourt. He was given the rank of Rifleman, which was the equivalent to the rank of Private.

Edward was granted a week of leave in early December 1916, in what might have been his last visit home. In a letter to the War Office, his sister Hildred recalls Edward stating during his last visit that he wished to leave his possessions to his mother “if anything were to happen … and I should not return”.

Sadly, Edward did not return home. In the spring of 1917, his battalion was engaged in the Battle of Arras, a British offensive against the German forces to the east of the town of Arras, in northern France. A major attack was planned on the 3rd of May, now known as the Third Battle of the Scarpe. The war diaries for the 1/5th Battalion Regiment describe a night of preparation in the trenches before the attack, with hot tea and rum being served at 2am. Edward was reported missing on the day of the attack and was later presumed dead. His body was never recovered.

Unfortunately, the Fishwick family’s losses did not end there. In December of 1917, Edward’s eldest brother Charles tragically committed suicide at a train station in Dorset. An article in the Western Gazette explains that Charles had been recovering from surgery and had temporarily moved in with his brother-in-law to avoid the stress of the air-raids in London, which had caused him to “suffer from nerves”. The loss of his brother Edward, just half a year prior would certainly have added to his mental distress. He left behind a wife and two children. Less than a year later, the father of the family, Charles William, died after being admitted to the London County Asylum. 

Edward is honoured on the Arras Memorial, as one of the 35,942 soldiers with no known grave who died in the Arras sector. He is also commemorated closer to home, on the J. Lyons and Co. War Memorial, which was erected in 1922 to honour the 227 former employees that had died during the war.