Exploits of Burnley Great War soldier in new book

COMRADES: Fred Busfield (left) and George Fielding in early 1915 before they sailed to France
COMRADES: Fred Busfield (left) and George Fielding in early 1915 before they sailed to France

The exploits of a brave Burnley soldier, decorated in the First World War, will be featured in a new book.

Leeds-based photographer Ian Wray is researching the war service of his great great uncle Fred Busfield who lost a leg in the Great War, fighting alongside his good friend George Fielding.

Born in Yorkshire, Fred moved to Burnley to work as a stonemason in the early 1900s.

In 1913 he married a widow, Mary Howarth, who lived in Bishop Street, Briercliffe.

Ian said: “Fred joined the Army at the outbreak of war and according to contemporary news reports he did so with a close friend, George Edward Fielding.

“It was reported that George had a wife and son living in Parliament Street and his mother lived in Devonshire Road. Before the war he was a weaver at Burrows’ Britannia Mill.

“Both men were decorated for bravery, receiving the Military Medal and being promoted to corporal for an action on the Somme in late 1916, and George received the further decoration in the form of a bar to his medal for actions at the third Battle of Ypres on July 31st, 1917.

“He was then also promoted to sergeant. Unfortunately that day did not go so well for Fred, who was wounded and lost his leg.

“After the war, Fred drank heavily and was understandably thrown out by his wife. He returned to Yorkshire where he died in 1924.”

If anyone has any information about the Howarths or Fieldings, Ian would like to hear from them.

He can be contacted on 0113 2788796 or 078147 37499 or by writing to 1 Queenswood Close, Leeds, LS6 3LZ.