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Norman Fawcett (1891-1917)

Stillington man served with 18 DLI killed within days of his adopted brother

Norman Fawcett was one of the many soldiers from the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) who were killed in action during the Battle of Arras. He was born in Stockton-on-Tees, the second son of Thomas Farrow Fawcett, (1859-1923), from Skipton, North Yorkshire, and Charlotte Fawcett, nee Knott, (b 1861). The couple married in 1888 and Norman’s older brother, Tom, was born the following year. There were three younger children in the family: Doris, born in 1895; Oswald, born in 1899 and Mildred, born in 1902.

By 1911, Norman’s father, who was a Freemason and very well known and regarded locally, was working as the Company Secretary of ‘The Joint Stock Company’, comprising the blast furnace, the iron works and the colliery at Ferryhill. Their address was given on the census as ‘Carlton Iron Works via Ferryhill’. However, the family were living on South Street, Whitton, probably in company housing. They had two servants living with them at the time if the 1911 census: Mary Eleanor Harritt, aged 18 and George Young, aged 24, who was a ‘horseman.’ They also had Frank Blenkinsopp living with them. The census records him as a boarder but the Commonwealth War Graves states that he was “the adopted son” of Mr and Mrs Fawcett.

Norman trained as an analytical chemist at the Carlton Iron Works laboratory before taking employment at the Seaton Carew Iron Company, while his older brother Tom became a clerk at Ferryhill Colliery.

In 1914, Norman joined the Durham ‘Pals’ immediately. He was killed at Arras on 3 May 1917 and was awarded the British War Medal; the Victory Medal and the 1914 – 15 Star. He is remembered at the Arras Memorial and in his local parish church of Saint John the Divine, Stillington. There is a plaque on the wall of the nave (see North East War Memorials link below) and his name appears on the grave of his sister, Mildred, who died aged 15 years in 1918. He was also given an obituary in the local paper, which reads;

‘Sgt. Norman Fawcett, second son of Mr. and Mrs. T.F. Fawcett of Carlton Iron Works, is reported to have been killed in action. He joined the Durham Pals on formation, was in the trenches at Hartlepool during the bombardment, proceeded with the battalion to Egypt in December, 1915 and thence to France in March, 1916. He received slight shell shock in the July, 1916 push.

He was trained as an analytical chemist in the Carlton Iron Works laboratory, then transferred to the Seaton Carew Iron Company Ltd, from which place he joined the Pals.’

North East War Memorials Project, page of plaque for Fawcett and Blenkinsop:

Civil Parish: Stillington

Birth date: 1891

Death date: 03-May-1917

Armed force/civilian: Army

Memorial(s): Arras Memorial Bay 8
DLI Book of Remembrance, Durham Cathedral
Carlton Iron Works, Stillington, cross
Saint John the Divine Church, Morrison Street, Stillington, lecturn
Saint John the Divine Church, Morrison Street, Stillington, plaque to Fawcett and Blenkinsop

Gender: Male

Contributed by Carol Hunt, Kingston Upon Thames

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