No.45082, Private, Bertie FIFIELD
Aged 27

1st/5th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers
formerly 330, 54th Division Cyclist Corps
Killed in Action on Friday, 26th October 1917

Bertie FIFIELD was born in Haverhill (Risbridge Q3-1890 4a:649), son of Jeremiah and Eliza FIELD (née MALSTER).

1891 census...Aged 8 months, he was at 38 Withersfield Road, Haverhill with his father Jeremiah FIFIELD [50] general labourer born St. Mary Bourne, Andover, Hants; his mother Eliza [45] born Sutton, Suffolk; sisters Alice J [21] a jacket finisher, born Chelmsford and Kate E [10] born Haverhill; brothers Frederick [16] a stable lad, Arthur [13] scullery lad, Frank [7] and Albert [5]. All the boys were born in Haverhill.

1901 census... Aged 10, he was now at 48 Withersfield Road with his parents; brothers Arthur (mat maker), Frank (horse keeper/groom), and Albert (builder'slabourer); sister Kate E (coat machinist).

1911 census...Aged 20, a horse hair cloth weaver, he was still at 48 Withersfeild Road with his parents (both now caretakers) and brother Albert, a horse hair cloth weaver. His mother had lost 2 of her 8 children.

The pension card still has his mother at 48 Withersfield Road.

He enlisted in Colchester, initially in the 54th Division Cyclist Corps. He served abroad first in Egypt, arriving there on 9th August 1915.

The war diary entry is very long, but basically they were based at TAUBE FARM, north of Poelcappelle, part 149th Brigade, in the centre, with 4th Northumberland Fusiliers on their left and 4th/5th Loyal North Lancs on their right and trying to take THE HUTS. the 2nd wave to pass through to V.2.c.1.6. Our artillery was useless, using shrapnel against concrete dug-outs, the mud made everything extremely difficult. Communications mainly by lamp, all other methods rendered impossible by the mud. The attempt in October to use tanks was a failure , again due to the mud. The diary put the casualties at Officers killed 2; wounded 5; missing 2 - OR killed 36, wounded 156; missing 64

CWGC show that 400 of the regiment died that day around Ypres, 90 of them from the 4th Battalion and a shocking 173 from the 5th ( of which only 32 have known graves)

A report published in the South West Suffolk Echo on 3rd August 1918 read:-
"About a week ago Mr.and Mrs. Fifield of 48 Withersfield Road, received a letter from the War Office intimating that no further news had been received respecting their youngest son, Pte. Bertie Fifield, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was reported missing on October 26th last year, and consequently the Army Council had been regretfully constrained to conclude that he was dead and that his death took place on October 26th, 1917 (or since). Pte Fifield was 27 years of age."

Bertie Fifield is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium panels 19 to 23 and 162
and in West End Congregational Church, Haverhill.

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details

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