Samuel Farnhill


About Samuel

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
  • Birth town
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
    22 October 1919
  • Married
  • Occupation
    Cloth Finisher

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Seaforth Highlanders


Samuel Farnhill was born in 1899 in the mill town of Dewsbury, West Yorkshire. His mother, Harriet, was a weaver, and his father, Benjamin, a boiler maker who saw active service with the West Riding Regiment during the South African War (1899–1902).

As a boy, Samuel was a chorister at St. James’s Mission Church in Vulcan Road, Dewsbury, and also joined the Centenary Band of Hope, which followed the principles of sobriety and the Christian faith.

Before enlisting with the Kings Own Scottish Borderers in May 1915, at the age of 16, Samuel had worked as a cloth finisher for James France and Co. in Dewsbury.

In August 1915, Private Farnhill was posted to the Dardanelles, where he saw action. Moving on with the KOSB to the Suez Canal, he was involved in trench digging to prepare for the defence of Egypt from the Turks during the Gallipoli Campaign, although the regiment did not engage in fighting here.

The regiment moved on to Marseilles in March 1916. Six weeks later, on 13 April, Private Farnhill sustained a shrapnel wound to his right shoulder. He had been in the trenches a mere ten days. ‘I felt as if a horse had kicked me,’ he told the Dewsbury Reporter after he returned home.

After treatment at an advance dressing station, Private Farnhill was sent to the Govan Hospital, near Glasgow, and then to the Alnwick Convalescent Home, Northumberland.

Samuel passed through Peterborough East Station on 2 November 1916.  He wrote in the visitors’ book: “Three sat in the Parlour, He, she, and the lamp. Two is Company, Three’s, a crowd, So out went the lamp.”

In November 1916, while convalescing in Northumberland, he transferred to the Seaforth Highlanders at Berwick-upon-Tweed. Military records show that the following March he was reprimanded for absenteeism and received 168 hours detention and the loss of several days pay. By late 1917, he was serving as a Guard of Honour to King George V at Sandringham, Norfolk.

Private Farnhill was again seriously wounded in April 1918, but returned to active service as a Corporal. In mid-August, however, he was shot through the neck behind the ears, causing partial paraplegia. Although it was thought he would recover, he was recommended for medical discharge, the report stating that his wound ‘renders the man quite bed-ridden.’

In February 1919, Corporal Farnhill was discharged, with a pension of 30 shillings for 26 weeks. He returned to his mother’s home at 19 Back Webster Street, Dewsbury, but died on 22 October 1919 at the Military Hospital in Richmond.  Samuel was awarded the 14 Star, British War and Allied Victory medals.

Poignantly, father and son died just two years apart (Benjamin, aged 41 in September 1917, and Samuel, aged 21 in October 1919).

As a member of the National Reserve, Benjamin had re-joined the forces in 1914 on mobilization and saw active service in France. While his regiment (KOYLI) were preparing for a return to France in January 1916, Benjamin was declared unfit, suffering from bronchitis and rheumatism. This brought about his transfer to a Provisional Battalion for Home Service at Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, where he served with the military police until being killed on duty during a bombing raid.

Benjamin and Samuel are buried in the same grave in Dewsbury Cemetery.

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