|A NINE YEAR SEARCH TO LOCATE THE GRAVE OF LIEUTENANT WILLIAM FORSHAW VC, THE MANCHESTER REGIMENT, CULMINATES IN THE ERECTION AND DEDICATION OF A HEADSTONE|
|Monday, 17 October 1994|
|William Forshaw survived the First World War and was living in Holyport, Berkshire, when he died at the comparatively young age of 53 on 26 March 1943 and was buried in the graveyard attached to Holy Trinity Church, Touchen End, in a grave that was not marked.
It was thought that William Forshaw had been buried in Ashton-under-Lyne and many publications reflected this. But the Victoria Cross historian, Tom Medcraft, was convinced he was not buried in Ashton and after a nine year search, discovered Forshaw was in fact buried in Touchen End.
This discovery was made through the efforts of Mrs Pat Curtis, Senior Librarian at Maidenhead Library, who found the undertaker, Pymm's of Maidenhead, who had buried William Forshaw and whose records showed he was buried in Touchen End Cemetery.
However, the undertaker's records did not show the exact location of the grave as their original records had been lost when they moved premises some forty years earlier. Further research by Tom Medcraft and Pat Curtis revealed that the churchyard seemed to be laid out in 'date order' for the years during which William Forshaw had been buried and his grave was one of five in an area of the cemetery which was seriously overgrown.
As a result of the grave being located and the area cleared, a ceremony was held in Touchen End Cemetery on Monday, 17th October 1994 to erect and dedicate a headstone to Lieutenant William Forshaw VC, by members of the 1st Bn. The King's Regiment ( Manchester & Liverpool ) - which was formed from his own Manchester Regiment - who erected the memorial stone. Also present were Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Hodges, Commanding Officer of the 1st Bn. The King's Regiment ( Manchester & Liverpool ), Brigadier Geremy Gaskell, the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bray, and the Vicar of Bray, who carried out the service.
The Victoria Cross of William Forshaw resides at the "The Museum of the Manchester's" Ashton-under-Lyne Town Hall, Manchester, together with his campaign medals. Also on display is a sword presented to him by the Mayor of Barrow - his home town - when he was given the Freedom of the City in 1916, and a beautiful silver tea service which was presented to him by the Headmaster of North Manchester Grammar School in October 1915, where he had served as a teacher prior to going to war. The room in the museum which houses his medals and other presentation gifts, is called "The Forshaw Room".
[ London Gazette, 9 September 1915 ]. The Vinyard, Gallipoli, 7 - 9 August 1915, Lieutenant William Thomas Forshaw, 9th Bn, Manchester Regiment.
During the period 7 / 9 August 1915 at Gallipoli, when holding the north-west corner of the "Vineyard" against heavy attacks by the Turks, Lieutenant Forshaw not only directed his men but personally threw bombs continuously for over 40 hours. When his detachment was relieved, he volunteered to continue directing the defence. Later, when the Turks captured a portion of the trench, he shot three of them and recaptured it. It was due to his fine example and magnificant courage that his very important position was held.William Forshaw was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 18th October 1915.
Iain Stewart, 5 May 2001