Sidney George Sayer DSM


About Sidney George

  • Name
    Sidney George
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    21 Feb 1888
  • Birth town
    Oulton Broad, Lowestoft
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Merchant Navy

  • Service Number
  • Rank


Sidney George Sayer was born on 21 February 1888 in Oulton Broad near Lowestoft.  His father Charles was a wherryman (a bit like a water taxi) who was married to Anna.  Sidney had an older brother, Frederick and a younger sister, Violet.

He was raised in the Lowestoft area and by 1911 was a fisherman and in 1913 he gained his Skippers Certificate in Lowestoft.  When the war came he remained on fishing vessels operating out of Lowestoft on the now extremely hazardous North Sea.

In 1916 Sidney was serving as the Mate on the Steam Drifter ‘Newark Castle’, (a type of fishing vessel using drift nets).  ‘Newark Castle’ was sunk on 6 July 1916 around 23 miles SE of the river Tyne by the German U-Boat U23, under command of Oberlieutnant zur Zee Ernst Voigt.  In a three day patrol, the U-Boat sank eight British vessels of similar size (One of the other vessels was the ‘Girl Gracie’ a boat that Sidney had previously served on).

Crew members came through Peterborough East Station on 8 July 1916 and wrote two detailed accounts of the attacks in the visitor’s books, describing how the German U-Boat U23 captured the vessels, allowing the crews off before sinking the vessels with bombs.  The crew of the “Newark Castle” were rescued by a British submarine and landed in Blyth six hours later, along with crews from “Girl Bessie” and “Petunia”.

U-Boat U23 sank 51 ships until it was badly damaged by depth charges from the patrol boat HMS PC-60 off the Lizard on July 26 1917.

U-Boats under the command of Oberlieutnant zur See Ernst Voigt, sank 80 ships.  Voigt, who was highly decorated, which included the Iron Cross 1st class, died on 25 August 1917 when UC 72 hit a mine in the Straits of Dover.

The nine crewmen could possibly have been returning to Lowestoft, following their unfortunate encounter with the German submarine.

Sidney enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve on 26 April 1917 giving his address as 78 Queens Road, Lowestoft.

On 04 July 1918 Sidney was granted Command Money for becoming Skipper of a Trawler, shortly after he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for bravery whilst on active service at sea.  He was discharged from the Royal Naval Reserve on 01 February 1919 when based in Grimsby.

In 1914 Sidney had married Mabel Dorothy Himson in Lowestoft and had three children, Donald (1919), Doris (1923) and Sylvia (1925).  Sometime after the war he and his family moved to Cornwall, settling in Newlyn for many years, Sidney also lost his sight at some point after the war.  We believe that he passed away in Plymouth in 1965 aged 77.

We have traced family members who have kindly provided us with a photograph.

Sidney’s brother, Frederick Charles, DSM, RNR was the Skipper of HM Trawler “Gabir” and was killed by a mine explosion off Lowestoft on 24 May 1918.





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