Sydney CRAIG
Rank: Lance Corporal
Number: 17862
Unit: 20th Battalion MANCHESTER REGIMENT
Date of Death: 9 July 1916
Age: 20
Cemetery: Willow Grove Cemetery, Stockport

In the late summer of 1890, Thomas Craig and Mary Sandham married at St Elizabeth's Church, Reddish. They would raise at least three children and Sydney was the oldest. The family lived locally at 33 Lingard Street and, later, 34 Luton Road. They were regular worshippers at St Elizabeth's and much of Sydney's social life revolved centred around the church. He had attended its Sunday School and played for the School's junior cricket team. He was also a past member of the Boys Brigade.

When he left school he got a job in the local cotton mill of Thomas Houldsworth Ltd and, by the time of the War, was working as a piecer. The Company included his name in its entry in the Manchester City Battalions Book of Honour when it was published in about 1916. On Wednesday, 18 November 1914, Sydney travelled into Manchester and enlisted into the army. He joined the fifth of the "Pals Battalions" being formed by the Manchester Regiment and was assigned to No. 13 Platoon in "D" Company. Click here for some details of the Battalion's recruitment and training.

The Battalion went overseas a year later and, probably whilst overseas, Sydney undertook further specialist training to become one of the Battalion's gunners who operated the light Lewis machine guns. On 1 July 1916, Sydney took part in the major British attack that marked the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was wounded during the day and was evacuated to a field hospital some miles away. After his condition was stabilised, he was brought back to the UK when he was admitted to Borough Hospital in Whitchurch where he died a few days later.

His body was brought back to Stockport where his funeral was conducted with military honours. The coffin was covered by the Union Jack and the "Last Post" was sounded by buglers from the Boys Brigade.

   
           
   
     
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