Alfred William Furneaux AM

b. 10/07/1887 Fulham, London. d. 13/02/1946 Lewisham, London.

DATE OF AM ACTION: 28/04/1917 Straits of Messina, Italy.

Alfred W Furneaux AM

Alfred was one of three children of Alfred J and Florence Jemima Furneaux, who lived in Fulham, West London. As a young man, Alfred joined the Mercantile Marine and became a Chief Steward. He served as Chief Steward with the S.S. Karonga as part of the Mercantile Marine during the Great War (entitled to Mercantile Marine War Medal and British War Medal). Furneaux distinguished himself when his vessel was torpedoed and sunk by U-63 in the Straits of Messina, 29 April 1917. The Karonga was en route from Newport to Bombay when she was intercepted by the German U-boat captained by Pour Le Mérite recipient Otto Schultze.

The Karonga sank two miles south south east of Cape Schio, with the loss of 18 crewman and the capture of her Master. On 7th December 1918 he married Lily Berta Ellis at All Saints, Fulham. Furneaux continued in the employ of the Merchant Navy, and served with the cargo ship S.S. Empire Faith, June 1941 – August 1942. The latter served on convoy duty to Halifax, Nova Scotia, during that time. Furneaux was discharged medically unfit for further service in August 1942. He was one of only 25 Albert Medals in Gold for Sea awarded, and one of only two Albert Medals in Gold for Sea to civilians in the Great War. After his death he was commemorated on the Dunkirk Memorial. 



In April, 1917, the steamship in which Mr. Furneaux was serving was torpedoed by the enemy, and a Lascar, who was on the spot where certain deck plates had buckled and broken, had his legs so firmly caught between the plates that he would have gone down with the ship. Mr. Furneaux, however, went to the man’s assistance and managed to get one leg out, but the other was nearly severed through above the knee. Finding it impossible to pull this leg out, Mr. Furneaux amputated it with an ordinary clasp knife and then carried the man to a boat. When in the boat he dressed .the wound as well as possible, and gave the life belt he was wearing to the wounded man. Mr. Furneaux also rendered first aid in the boat to another Lascar who was badly scalded. Mr. Furneaux was in imminent danger of losing his life in rendering the service.





Allan Stanistreet – Image of Alfred Furneaux AM.