Rank: Third Engineer
Regiment or Ship: Bexhill Borough Fire Brigade
Date of Birth: 1878
Place of Birth: Bexhill on Sea, Sussex
Date of Death: December 1957
Place of Death: Bexhill-on-Sea Place of Burial / Memorials:
Bexhill Cemetery on 27.12.1957. Plot EDF10.
Address: 60 Windsor Road, Bexhill
Photos and newspaper articles
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Parents: Thomas Farnfield, b. 1853 in Crawley, d. 1923, and Elizabeth Sarah Farnfield (nee Ashdown), b. 1851 in Rye, d. 1923.
William Farnfield, b. 1875 in Bexhill. A general labourer in 1891.
Albert Farnfield, b. 1880 in Bexhill.
Percy Farnfield, b. 1882 in Bexhill.
Annie Farnfield, b. 1884 in Bexhill.
Charles Ernest Farnfield, b. 1884 in Bexhill.
Emily Farnfield, b. 1885 in Bexhill.
Alfred Harold Farnfield, b. 1891 in Bexhill. N0013 FARNFIELD Alfred Harold
Thomas, Elizabeth and family lived at 6 Hamilton Road, Bexhill, in 1891 and Thomas was employed as a general labourer. When Thomas died Elizabeth moved to Meadow View, 1 Hamilton Terrace, Bexhill.
Spouse: George married Alice Mary L. Bayliss in 1900 in the Battle registration district. Alice was born in 1875 in Moreton in the Marsh, and was buried on 26th February 1925 in Bexhill Cemetery. George was a self-employed plumber as well as being part of the Fire Brigade.
They had at least three children – Alice Mary, b. 1903; Doris Kate, b. 1905; and Mable Vera, b. 1907. All three children were born in Bexhill.
First World War Experience
George joined the Army Reserve in December 1915 and is listed in the local newspaper under Bexhill Men who have joined the Army Reserve.
We do not know exactly what his duties were during the war years but we do have a quite comprehensive biography in the Bexhill Chronicle dated 5th August, 1916. This reads:
ALARMS AND FALSE ALARMS
TWENTY YEARS A FIREMAN
ENGINEER FARNFIELD’S RECORD
Engineer G. F. Farnfield, of Windsor and Victoria Roads, joined the Bexhill Borough Fire Brigade on June 19th. 1896. This has been recognised by the National Federation of Fire Brigades, who have awarded him the silver medal for twenty years’ continuous service, and this medal was publicly presented to him by the Mayor on July 24th at the meeting of the Town Council.
A Nobleman Captain
At the time Engineer Farnfield joined the brigade as third engineer the late Earl De La Warr was Captain, with Lieut. Thomas as second in command. Mr. F. Greed was the chief engineer. The engine was the same engine that the brigade has now, but to the appliances then possessed two fire escapes have been added, and shortly there will be another addition made to the usefulness of the brigade by the fitting of the escape to the tractor. During Earl De La Warr’s captaincy his lordship was instrumental in securing for the brigade the honour of being included amongst the brigades who took part in the Lord Mayor’s Show about twenty years ago. Another pleasant reminiscence of the Earl’s kindness is the trip he arranged to Buckhurst, his seat in Kent, where the members spent a very enjoyable day. When the Earl resigned, he, after an interval, was succeeded by Captain Wise, who has now been eighteen years a member of he brigade.
His First Fire
The first fire that Engineer Farnfield – who has filled successively the positions of third, second, and chief engineer – went to after joining was a stack fire in Williams’ meadow, Elmstead Road. Later there was a much larger fire at Brooke’s Farm. Other fires – they are not given in order of date – have been in Devonshire Road (more than one), that of the old Marine Club, and very many smaller ones, including one at Ninfield post office, and other at Picknall Green and High Woods. When a fire occurred at Normanhurst, then the residence of Lord Brassey, the engine was called to it. That is the furthest distance the engine has worked away from the borough. During the twenty years that Engineer Farnfield has been connected with the brigade there has been no life lost in the fires that have taken place in the borough, if we except the death of the lady in Amherst Road. That took place owing to an accident inside the house, and death occurred before the Fire Brigade arrived on the scene.
Coming of Motor Tractors
Great improvement has recently been effected by motor traction being adopted in taking the engine and other appliances to the fire. Before this was done the brigade had to obtain horses from Messes. Dodson’s Mews, and this entailed no slight exertion and no little delay. Now under the new arrangement the members of the brigade have simply to go to the Fire Station and proceed to the scene of the fire, arriving there more quickly, and also being fresh and ready to at once enter on their duties. This is due to the excellent arrangements made by the Corporation with Mr. L. Russell, of Station Road, and Engineer Farnfield recognises them as being not only beneficial to the town, but much appreciated by the members of the brigade.
In the Competitions
During the twenty years that Engineer Farnfield has been in the brigade, it has taken part in competitions and displays at Hastings (where a prize was secured), Hove, Paddock Hurst, Tunbridge Wells, and Bexhill. Our readers will join with us in reiterating the wish that the Mayor gave utterance to a few days ago – that Engineer Farnfield will be long spared to render further useful service to the town in his capacity of engineer to the Bexhill Borough Fire Brigade.