Sidney James THORNTON
Rank: Private
Number: 1727
Unit: 1/1st Battalion HEREFORD Regiment
Date of Death: 20 August 1915
Age: 25
Cemetery: Helles Memorial, Turkey

Sidney was born in the area of Stowe and Knighton on the English/Welsh border in about 1890. Within a couple of years of this, the family was living in the Stockport area and Sidney's younger siblings were born locally - Sarah (about 1892), John ( about 1895) and Ephraim (known as Ephie) (about 1897). Also in 1897, their father, James, died, aged 44.

At the time of the 1901 Census, Sarah, John and Ephie were living with their mother at 5 Violet Street, Cale Green. Sidney was not at home and it has not been possible to identify him on the Census records. They later moved down the street to No. 11.

When war was declared in August 1914, Sidney was living in Pontypridd and working as a miner. He travelled north, to Hereford, to enlist in the local Regiment. After training, the Battalion left Devonport on 16th July aboard the Euripedes, arriving at Alexandra, Egypt on 27 July.

In his last letter home, posted while at sea, Sidney wrote home that he was disappointed that he hadn't been able to get home before going overseas or, in a reference to his brother, to have "that half day with Jack at Belle Vue, but, never mind, we shall have to wait until the war is over and then have a good time."

On the morning of 9 August, Sidney and his mates landed at "C" Beach on the Gallipoli peninsula. There were no casualties in the landing but they were ordered forward, almost immediately, to assist a Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters in the front line. They pushed forward about a mile and then came under heavy shrapnel fire. They made contact with part of the Foresters but the terrain and the dust created by the shelling meant the commanding officer could no longer see his two leading companies. He later recorded "I was in a quandary and did not know what to do."  Later in the day, a general withdrawal back to safer terrain was ordered.

Sidney's obituary in the newspaper wrongly assumed he had been killed - "Everyone will have read of the landing at Suvla Bay of his Regiment and their glorious charge when going to relieve the Sherwood Foresters. This must be where he fell".

Sidney spent the remaining days of his life either in the front line or support trenches. There was constant artillery shelling and, whilst the Battalion's War Diary makes no mention of casualties on 20 August, it is reasonable to assume that Sidney was killed by one of shells. As with many soldiers killed at Gallipoli, the location of Sidney's grave became lost during the course of the war and he now has no known grave.

The local newspaper, in 1915, reported that Ephie Thornton had joined the 3rd (reserve) Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders. There is no record that he served abroad with that Regiment but a man of this name did serve with the South Staffordshire Regiment and, later, the Sherwood Foresters.

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