Battalion 1st Battalion
Regiment Leicestershire Regiment
|Private||12924||9th Battalion West Riding Regiment|
|CSM||12924||9th Battalion West Riding Regiment|
|2/Lt and Lt||1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment|
Sydney Stewart English is included on this site as he had served in The Great War and moved to Collingham in the 1920-30s and lived here for a number of years.
Sydney Stewart English was born on the 23rd September 1886 in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest son of John William English and his wife Liziana English. John originated from Belfast and was an agent for Scottish and Irish linens, and his wife was from County Cork. Sydney had two sisters, Mabel, born in 1888 in Ireland and Dulce, born in Armley, Leeds in 1893. In the early 1890s, John and his family had moved to Yorkshire and we have found census records for them in 1891 at 258 Bath Grove, Leeds Road, Bramley; in 1901 at 15, Clarence Road, Horsforth; and in 1911 at Newlay Lane, Horsforth, Leeds.
Sydney Stewart English attested for service in the Great War on the 1st September 1914 in Ilkley into the West Riding Regiment. On the 8th September he was posted to the 9th Battalion of that Regiment and only 9 days later was promoted to be Lance Corporal. We believe he served (for at least some of his time with 'D' Company of the 9th West Ridings). Sydney must have been a good soldier and well respected in his regiment as he was promoted rapidly rising to full Corporal on the 26th October 1914, to Acting Sergeant on the 16th November 1914, Company Quartermaster Sergeant on the 19th December 1914 and Acting Company Sergeant Major on the 26th May 1915.
Sydney was a very early recruit into the Army and the unit he joined, 9th Battalion West Riding Regiment was a newly formed battalion, raise at Halifax in September 1914 as part of Kitchener's New Army. They joined 52nd Brigade in the 17th (Northern) Division. Initial training was carried out close to home before they moved to Wareham, then to Bovington in October 1914 and to Wimborne in November 1914. They then moved to Hursley Park, Winchester in June 1915 for final training. This Division had initially been selected for Home Defence, but this was changed and the Division went to France landing in Boulogne on the 15th July 1915. From Sydney's record we can see that he was one of the men who went to France on this date. The Battalion concentrated near St. Omer and then moved to the Southern Ypres Salient for trench familiarisation and then they took over the front lines in that area. This was a fairly quiet sector during these months, but even so during the weeks from 7th August to 18th November, 22 men were killed serving with the Battalion.
Sydney stayed in France only until the 18th November 1915 when he left the battalion to take up a commission as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. He would have returned to the UK and after some training, Sydney joined his new unit on the 2nd January 1916 while they were in billets in Poperinghe, and Sydney joined 'C' Company.
In mid May 1917, Sydney was taken ill and he left his unit on the 17th May 1916. About a week later, on the 25th May he embarked in Calais to be repatriated back to Dover. On that same evening Sydney reported that he had arrived at Bathurst House, at 12 Belgrave Square, London. This was Bathurst House Hospital for Officers - a hospital affiliated to Queen Alexandra's Military Hospital in Millbank containing 29 beds for wounded and sick officers.
Sydney was examined and had to go before a Medical Board held on the 6th June 1916 at Caxton Hall, London. The board found he was unfit for either general service or home service for at least 3 months and granted him leave from the 25th May to the 17th July. He told the Board that he would spend his leave at Rosemead, Ilkley - his parents' house.
Sydney's case was next reviewed at a Medical Board held at the Northern General Hospital in Leeds on the 17th July 1916. At this time Sydney was found still unfit for general or home service for at least 4 weeks, but was found to be fit enough for light duties. He was told to report for another Board on the 14th August 1916 and in the meantime was transferred to the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion Leicestershire Regiment. On the 14th August Sydney's next Board was held at the Humber Garrison in Hull. The Board noted slight improvements and that Sydney was fit to continue with light duties but thought that his return to either General Service or Home Service would take at least another 3 months. Interestingly the Board noted:
On the 14th October, Sydney's next Medical Board, again at the Humber Garrison, found that he was now fit for Home Service but reckoned that he would need at least another month before he was fit for General Service. Finally on the 14th October 1916, a Medical Board again in Hull found he was now fit for General Service. Sydney's record file is then unfortunately silent on where he went next, and we find that he did not reappear in the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment War Diary serving in France until May 1918. It seems likely from the monthly Army Lists that Sydney first returned to service with the 9th Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, but we have not found any mention of him in the war diary for that unit. In the meantime, on the the 1st July 1917, Sydney was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, and was again promoted to Acting Captain on the 6th April 1918.
From the 1st May 1918 we find Sydney back serving again with the 1st Battalion Leicestershire Regiment, joining while they were serving as Divisional Reserve near Vlamertinghe. On the 12th May, the battalion moved to be an brigade support near Belgian Castle, and then on the 18th May moved to the Front Line in the Chateau Segard Sector. On the 27th they moved back to support and then cycled back to the front line on the 30th May where they stayed until the 7th June. On that date the battalion moved out of the line and went to a series of camps for training - from the 7th June to 14th at Dirty Bucket Camp, North West of Vlamertinghe, then from 14th to 20th June, at School Camp near Poperhinghe. From the 20th June, the battalion was at the Musketry Camp at Cormette, before moving (on the 26th) to Rainsford Camp and on the 28th to the Hagebaert Area near Poperhinghe. Finally on the 7th July, they moved back to the front line taking over trenches as the right battalion in the Dickebusch Sector, near Kemmel.
Sydney was again taken ill and left the Battalion on the 9th July 1918, sailing back to the UK from Boulogne to Dover on the 26th July.
Sydney was treated at the British Red Cross Hospital, Ketley and a Medical Board in that Hospital on the 9th Augusy 1918 summarised his case:
He was recommended for convalescent hospital. His next Medical Board was on 20th August, again at the same hospital:
Sydney was granted leave and was re-examined in November (18th November) after the war had ended. The Medical Board reported:
On the 24th January 1919, Sydney was finally discharged from the Army.
After the war Sydney first went to live at Rosemead, Ilkley. From 1922 to 1924, Sydney appears on the electoral roll for Ilkley, living at 10, Belgrave Place, but for 1925 to 1926 his address in Ilkley changes to The Crescent Hotel.
Sydney married Evelyn Maud Frances Wedderspoon, a widow, in Scarborough in 1927. Evelyn Maud Frances Ferguson had first married on the 12th November 1912 at All Hallows, Leeds, to Robert Wedderspoon, but he had died, aged just 35 in 1920. Robert Wedderspoon is buried in St.Oswald's cemetery, Collingham. Sydney and Evelyn made their home for a time in Collingham, being on the electoral roll for Collingham for 1930 and 1931 living at Rathleigh, Collingham.
In 1939 Sydney was living at 10 Blenheim Crescent in Leeds, and he served in World War 2 as an ARP at a First Aid Post.
Sydney Stewart English of 31 Kensington Terrace, Leeds died on the 19th April 1951.
Biography last updated 05 April 2022 14:05:12.
1911 Census. The National Archives. Class RG14 Piece 25971
First World War Medal Index Cards. The National Archives (WO372).
First World War Medal Index Rolls. The National Archives (WO329).
First World War Officer's Service Records WO339/50347 The National Archives.
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