Gerald SIDEBOTHAM
Rank: Captain
Number:
Unit: 1/4th Battalion CHESHIRE Regiment
Date of Death: 9 March 1918
Age: 25
Cemetery: Jerusalem War Cemetery, Israel

Gerald Sidebotham came from a comfortable middle class family. Information from the family history website, FreeBMD, suggests his birth was registered, at Stockport, between September and November 1893. The family home was at Macauley House, Davenport Crescent, Stockport.

His father was managing partner in the family firm of solicitors, Sidebotham and Sidebotham, with offices in Stockport and at 7 Brazennose Street, Manchester. Gerald was articled to his father and worked at the Manchester office. He joined the army in August 1914 and was probably quickly selected to become an officer. He was with the Battalion at Gallipoli when, on 27 August 1915, he was wounded in the wrist, but it is not thought this was very serious.

In February 1916, he will have received news that his older brother, John, then serving as a Lieutenant with the Kings Shropshire Light Infantry, had been killed in action. The following month, Gerald was permanently promoted from 2nd Lieutenant to Lieutenant (although by then he was already an Acting Captain). 

By 1918, the major actions against the Turkish Army in Palestine were drawing to a close, but operations still continued in the Jordan Valley. An advance on a 13 mile wide front, astride the Jerusalem - Nablus road was ordered. The 1/4th Battalion was tasked with clearing a narrow ridge running from Munatir to Kefr Malik. The Regimental History describes the day:-

"The 4th Battalion moved off just after dark on 8th March. The advance had to be commenced in single file and it took some six hour to cross the wadi and climb Morris Hill where it was possible to form up and deploy......It was still pitch dark when the Turkish post on the top of the hill opened heavy rifle fire which, however, went well over the heads of the attacking companies. The advance was now quickened, although, as the men were tired and out of breath, progress was still comparatively slow. However, for the last seventy or eighty yards, a somewhat breathless charge with fixed bayonets was organised. The enemy did not wait to try conclusions hand to hand."

It was now beginning to get light and the Turks could be seen retreating about half a mile away. Most of the battalion had become mixed up, but "C" Company was intact and was immediately ordered forward to seize the position to which enemy was retiring.

The History continues "While this attack was in progress, the remainder of the Battalion, crowded behind the summit of Munatir, came under fire from 77mm guns to the north and enfilade fire from a machine gun on the other side of the wadi, on the right or eastern flank. As it was quite impossible to get across the wadi to the high ground on which the enemy gun was posted, a couple of Lewis guns were told off to deal with it. This Turkish machine gun inflicted numerous casualties, among whom was Captain G Sidebotham."

The Battalion continued to press on with the advance which gained its objectives.

   
           
   
     
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