Rank: Private
Number: 27057
Unit: 8th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death: 4 August 1917
Age: 23
Cemetery: Menin Gate Memorial, Ieper, Belgium

Sydney was a native of Cheadle. The son of Edward & Mary Davies, he lived at 182 Stockport Road, Cheadle. He worked at Sykes' Bleachworks, Edgeley, Stockport

The newspaper report of his death suggested that he enlisted on 21 August 1914, into the 3rd (reserve) Battalion, Manchester Regiment. However, the official record of the Regiment records him as a member of the 16th Battalion, the first of the Manchester Pals. His service number was 6857 and he is shown as being a member of 12 Platoon, "C" Company. The 16th Battalion did not start to recruit until 31 August.

It is likely that Sydney saw action with the Manchesters during the Battle of the Somme, in the summer and early autumn of 1916. It is possible that he was wounded and, when returning to duty, was transferred to the Lancashires, where he served in the Battalion's machine gun section. For the first part of 1917 the Battalion was south of Ypres and had a fairly quiet time. Casualties were low.

In early July, they moved north, spending four days in Ypres where they were constantly and heavily shelled, suffering many casualties from gas shells.

31 July 1917 was the start of the Third Battle of Ypres, often called the Battle of Passchendaele. Sydney was not to see action this day as the North Lancashires were still in reserve. The next day, in broad daylight, they moved forward to relieve another battalion on Westhoek Ridge, to the west of the city. The relief was carried out in very difficult circumstances as the position was not accurately known and they were in full view of the enemy entrenched at Glencorse Wood. The heavy rain and effects of the artillery fire had turned the whole area into a quagmire, with the trenches knee-deep in mud. The Battalion would be there until the 5 August, subjected to constant shellfire. During this period in the trenches, 41 soldiers would be killed. Sydney was one of 14 to die on the day before they were relieved.

(Note: Original research by John Hartley for the Cheadle & Gatley War Memorials website)

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