Sidney James BROWN
Rank: Pioneer
Number: 135713
Unit: Railway Troops Depot ROYAL ENGINEERS
Date of Death: 30 March 1917
Age: 31
Cemetery: Hawkhead Cemetery, Paisley, Scotland

Official records in Stockport show "Sydney" to be the correct spelling of the name, although military records show it as "Sidney". He was born in 1886 in the Heaton Norris area, the son of Thomas and Annie. When the 1901 Census was taken, the family was living at 51 Holly Street, Stockport. Sydney, then aged 14, had already left school and had become an apprentice with one of the local hat making factories. He had a younger sister brother and sister, Elizabeth and Herbert.

In 1913, he married Fanny Elizabeth Birch at St Alban's Chruch and they are thought to have set up home at 207 Newbridge Lane.  Sydney's army service number is comparatively low and suggests he may have enlisted in the early part of 1915. Records held at the National Archives show Sydney to have an entitlement to medals for his service in the War. In itself, this confirms that he must have served overseas with the Engineers.

It is not known when he returned to Britain or why he was attached to a Depot in Scotland. As far as can be established, this was an "assembly depot" for Royal Engineers who would be assigned to the Corps' various railway operating and construction units. It is likely that Sydney had been back in back to recover form injuries or illness and was waiting for reassignment when he died. It's presumed his death was from natural causes.

His parents would, no doubt, have only just been coming to terms with the loss of their eldest child when more bad news arrived in May 1917. Herbert had been killed in action on the 9th, whilst serving with the Royal Army Medical Corps. He is buried in Greece.

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