Sidney Godwin PEARSON
Rank: Private
Number: 15664
Date of Death: 1 January 1916
Age: 26
Cemetery: Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France

Sidney was born in Stockport, the son of Arthur and Elizabeth. Her maiden name was probably Whiting and the couple are thought to have married in the late 1880s at St Thomas‘ Church. Nothing has been discovered about Sidney's early life but, in the late autumn of 1910, he married Lilian Beeley. They set up home together at 13 Princes Street and would have one daughter together.

Sidney's army service number is quite low, suggesting he probably enlisted in the early autumn of 1914, within weeks of war being declared. Although he had joined up for the duration of the War only, he was assigned to one of the two regular army battalions of the Fusiliers. He went overseas as part of a draft of replacements for casualties around Easter 1915.

During his time in France, he received two minor wounds and was looking forward to his first home leave. The Battalion's War Diary has been examined and the last occasion when casualties were mentioned was on 24 November and this may well be when Sidney was injured. The Diary records that they were in trenches near St Eloi (a village south of Ypres towards the border with France). During the afternoon, their positions were shelled by the enemy and 7 men were wounded.

Whenever it was that Sidney received his wounds, he would have been treated a few miles behind front line at a field hospital (Casualty Clearing Station) and, once stabilised, further evacuated to a hospital with full facilities at Etaples.

On 31 December, Lilian received a telegram from the War Office urging her to go to France as Sidney's condition had deteriorated. She set out immediately but arrived too late. Sidney had died and had just been buried.

In the early 1920s, when the War Graves Commission collated its casualty information, Lilian was living at 8 Gerrard Street in the Portwood area of town.

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