Monday, March 19, 2018

Eric Fenihough's last resting place

Eric Crudgington Fernihough. 17 February
1905 to 21 April 1938.
Following the recent article on Eric Fernihough's bible I took the time visit his grave in Bournemouth. I have relatives who live quite close to the Bournemouth East cemetery in King's Park so it was easy to slip away from the post Sunday lunch torpor and pay my respects.

It was a drizzly afternoon and in the distance I could hear the crowd cheering on Bournemouth at the nearby football stadium. Entering the cemetery I was dubious that I would be able to find Ferni's gravestone. Bournemouth East is after all quite a large cemetery and I only had limited time before I needed to return to the familial duties. I had found a picture of the gravestone online and it seemed to be quite distinctive, I quickly found though that the design was a popular one in 1930s Bournemouth. Providence however shone down on me: I had entered the cemetery through the northern gate by the Jewish gravestones and walking past these I stumbled upon Fernihough's gravestone quite swiftly.

The inscription on Eric Fernihough's headstone.
Ferni's widow, Florence Dorothy, was also buried on the same plot after she passed in 1982 and her name is inscribed below his.

On the side of the stone is marked:
'Also Florence A. Penrose
Died April 21. 1948
Aged 81 Years
Beloved Mother of 
Dorothy Fernihough.'

On the side of Eric Fernihough's headstone is marked the
grave of his mother-in-law Florence Penrose.
Unfortunately the two Florences, widow and in-law, knew great loss in their family as Florence Penrose's husband John was killed on the Titanic when it went down 15 April 1912. John Penrose was a steward on board.

The Penroses were a Liverpool family and perhaps it is this connection that was a common bond between Florence and Eric. The family moved down to Southampton when the White Star Line relocated their headquarters from Liverpool to Southampton. Florence Dorothy had a brother, Reginald who was married in Southampton in 1917 but unfortunately died just a short while later whilst fighting with the Hampshire Regiment in Belgium.

The information on the Penrose family I found on the Encyclopedia Titanica site.

It is a fascinating and somewhat tragic history. So far I have not been able to trace the link to Bournemouth for an explanation of why Eric Fernihough is buried there. Perhaps Florence Penrose moved to Bournemouth after her husband was lost at sea? It seems that she moved to Surrey later on in her life, perhaps after Eric's passing.

The view across Bournemouth East cemetery from Ferni's
headstone. It is a peaceful place.
The eightieth anniversary of Fernihough's death at Gyon in Hungary is coming up soon - April 21st to be precise. Some sources quote Ferni's death as April 23rd, though the headstone clearly states 21st. I found it strangely moving to visit his grave and it would be nice to think that it will be visited and flowers left on the eightieth anniversary. Apparently Florence Fernihough did not have any surviving children. Unfortunately I cannot be the one to mark the anniversary as I shall be at sea on the date, perhaps another local enthusiast can step in?

Looking from behind Ferni's headstone across
to the Jewish section of the cemetery.


  1. I have a few suggestions about Eric Fernihough. All information offered in good faith but subject to correction.
    He lived and worked most of his adult life in the Bournemouth area, so I think that explains why he is buried there.
    He was born in Birkenhead but both his parents died while he was young (less than six years old).
    He was "adopted" (possibly not in the legal sense) and taken to Australia, where he lived for most/all of his school days. Somehow he then moved back to England and attended Cambridge University as an undergraduate from 1923-26.
    Almost all sources (including contemporary Hungarian reports) give the date of his fatal accident as 23 April, so it would appear the stonemason was given incorrect information or made a mistake.
    I am seeking further information about his early life that is not easily available in motor sport-related books/magazines/internet sources. I will publish contact details here if anyone reading this has something to offer.

    1. Replying to myself, since I have received a few corrections.
      I am probably wrong about him living in Bournemouth as an adult.
      Whilst his mother died when he was less than 4 years old, his father lived on. However, the father effectively abandoned the family, leaving Eric and several siblings as orphans.
      The trip to Australia with his new "mother" was only for a few months, before returning to live in Bournemouth.
      Apart from that ....

    2. Hi there. Apologies for taking a while to reply - been travelling for work and away from a computer for nearly a week. Firstly many thanks for your comments, interesting stuff. I had no idea about his parents. Rather strange the difference in date between the headstone and reports, as you say all reports seem to say 23rd so perhaps we should assume that the headstone is incorrect.
      Interestingly I have been directed to a local chap whose parents knew Fernihough and has a good deal of information to impart. I was going to meet up with him before my current stint at sea but unfortunately I developed a rotten cold in my last week at home so had to defer the appointment. I am hoping to visit in six or so weeks' time. With any luck after that I shall have plenty to add to the story. If you fancy getting in touch direct you can email me at
      Best wishes, Richard