Alfred Furnace (1891-1917)
Westgate man served with 18th DLI died from cerebral meningitis in a British hospital
Alfred Furnace was born in 1891, son of Anthony, a lead miner, and Isabella Furnace of 53, Westgate. He had two brothers, Thomas and Joseph, and two sisters, Phoebe and Isabella. In 1911 he was working as a farm labourer at Crooks Altar.
He enlisted at Bishop Auckland on 23 May 1916, aged 25 years 1 month, giving his occupation as a metal smelter, and was assigned to the 3rd Battalion Durham Light Infantry (DLI), 32445, which was a training battalion preparing drafts for front line units.
He trained in camps in Cleadon and South Shields, and was disciplined on three occasions for being absent without leave and for being unshaven at roll call.
On 13 September 1916 he embarked for France with the 18th Battalion, DLI and served there until he was diagnosed with trench fever in early March 1917.
Alfred was transferred home to the American Women’s War hospital in Paignton, Devon on 11 March, where his illness was identified as cerebral spinal meningitis. He died on 19 March and his some of his family were with him. He was 26 years old.
He was buried in the St Andrews churchyard at Westgate with military honours.
Civil Parish: Stanhope
Birth date: 1891
Death date: 19-Mar-1917
Armed force/civilian: Army
Residence: Daddry Shields, Durham
Employment: Farm Labourer
Family: Father: Anthony furnace
Mother: Isabella Furnace
Sisters: Phoebe, Isabella
Brothers: Thomas, Joseph
Private, number 32445, 18th battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Medal(s): British War Medal
Memorial(s): St. Andrews Church, Westgate
Saint John’s Chapel, village green, war memorial
Saint John’s Chapel, town hall, roll of honour
Contributed by John B | Mel Brown