The Men – William Farnworth

Senior Reserve Attendant M/8995, Royal Navy,died Thursday, 11 March 1915, serving on HMS Bayano.

He was aged 28 and was the son of Henry and Esther Farnworth, Babylon Lane, Adlington. He was born 4 December 1887, and married Amelia Chadwick, sister of Arthur Chadwick, 9 Springfield Terrace, in 1912 at St Paul’s Church, Adlington.They had one son. Their address in 1914 was 15 Peter Street, Barrowford. William was a warp dresser.

Corporal Farnworth enlisted from 2 August 1914 from the St John Ambulance volunteers trained at Adlington. His Royal Navy papers state that he was 5ft 51/4in tall, with a chest measurement of 33 inches. Had dark brown hair, blue eyes, a sallow complexion, and a mole on the right side of his chin. He was at the Haslar Hosptial from 2nd August to 23rd December 1914, then registered on HMS Victory for one day before being transferred to the Bayano on the 24th December.

The Bayano was a banana boat belonging to Elders and Fyffe, built in Glasgow in 1913. She was converted into an armed merchant cruiser for convoy duty. She was 416ft 6in long, with a beam of 53ft 2in, and a tonnage of 5948,

Commanded by H C Carr, it left Glasgow on 10th March 1915, and was torpedoed on the morning of the 11th March by u-boat U27 under the command of Kapitanleutnant Berhard Wenger, 10 miles WNW of Coreswell Point in the Clyde. It was a calm dark morning and the Bayano sank in four minutes Commander Carr, 14 officers and 181 ratings were drowned, but there were 25 survivors.Many bodies were washed up on the Irish coast.

William was the first local man to be killed in the conflict.

Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 20 March 1915

Adlington has lost a volunteer last week by the sinking of H.M.S. “Bayano”. The vessel was an armed auxiliary cruiser, and is supposed to have been sunk somewhere off the East Coast of Scotland in the early hours of Thursday, last week. An Adlington man named Corporal Wm. Farnworth belonging to the Ambulance division, was aboard. He, prior to the outbreak of the war, had been living at Heywood. An intimation has been received of the list of those who have been saved, but it does not contain the name of Farnworth. The Admiralty notify that it must be presumed that those not so appearing must have lost their lives.

Farnworth was 28 years of age, a married man with a wife and one child, and had been in the Adlington Ambulance Corps, under Dr W.C. Rigby, for about twelve years. On the outbreak of the war, Farnworth was in the Adlington district. He had been a member of the Royal Naval Sick Berth Reserve, but was time-expired. He volunteered immediately, and left in the first week of the war. He resided at Heywood for about two years, prior to which he was employed as a beamer at Messrs Middleton’s Springfield Mill. His parents live at 31 Babylon-lane, Heath Charnock. He performed important ambulance duty, and was in the district a few days up to Monday, the 8th instant. On that day he was ordered to re-join H.M.S. “Bayano” at Glasgow, and left. Farnworth was highly esteemed in the neighbourhood, and much sympathy is felt and expressed to his family.

Adlington Parish Church magazine August 1915

A most impressive and beautiful Memorial Service was held in the Parish Church on Thursday, July 1st, when we commemorated the three soldiers connected with Adlington who have given their lives for the cause of liberty and true peace – Lieutenant Arthur Claud Middleton and Privates William Farnworth and Frank Howard. The Church was well filled with a thoroughly representative congregation which made us all feel they had not died in vain, if only in this one respect – but there are many others – they drew all hearts together, touched by a common sorrow, in a way that we have rarely seen before in our village life. This is a golden lining even to the terrible cloud of war. Many of our village lads are now actually “set in the midst of many and great dangers” in France, in the Dardanelles and on the sea. It is hard for us at home, and it is hard for those who are away.

Chorley Guardian and Leyland Hundred Advertiser 10 March 1917

– In loving memory of William, the beloved husband of Amelia Farnworth, who lost his life on H.M.S “Bayano”, March 11th 1915.

“No loved ones stood around him
To bid a fond farewell;
No words of comfort could he leave
With those he loved so well.”

Ever remembered, from Wife and Child

FARNWORTH:– In loving memory of Corporal W. Farnworth who lost his life on HMS “Bayano” on March 11th 1915.

“Worthy of everlasting love”

From those he left behind;

“A better brother never lived, Nor one more good and kind.”

From Father and Sisters, Babylon-lane, Heath Charnock

“Sometime, some day, in the better land,
We shall meet again and understand.”

From Brother Jim (Mesopotamia)

[James Farnworth’s name is on the Rivington Church and the Loyal Heath Charnock Glory Lodge of
Oddfellows’ rolls of honour]

William Farnworth is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Southsea Common, panel no. 10, The three manning ports, Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth each have an identical memorial obelisk to members of the Royal Navy with no known grave. A copy of the memorial Register is kept at the Civic Offices, Guildhall Square.

He is also commemorated on the Adlington War Memorial, The Adlington Parish Church memorial, the Rivington Church memorial, the Bay Horse )Heath Charnock) Bowling Club roll of honour, and the Loyal Heath Charnock Glory Lodge of Oddfellow. roll of honour. He was remembered at the unveiling ceremony of this roll of honour.

Historical Note – U27

U27 was launched on 14/7/1913, and commissioned on 8/5/1914. On 18/10/1914 she torpedoed and sank the British submarine E3, which was the first time that a submarine had been sank by another. On 31/10/1914 she sank the seaplane carrier, HMS Hermes, and went on to sink the Bayano, another six British merchant ships, two Norwegian and one Spanish ship.

On 19/8/1915, U27 was sunk by gunfire from the Q-Ship HMS Baralong, and her entire crew was killed. This incident is known as the Baralong Incident. The surviving German sailors were all shot, and not taken prisoner.