Sydney Billingham


About Sydney

  • Name
  • Initials
  • Surname
  • Date of Birth
    30 December 1898
  • Birth town
  • Resided town
  • Commemorated
  • Nationality
  • Place of death
  • Date of death
  • Married
  • Occupation

Service Information

  • Army

  • Service Number
  • Rank
  • Regiment
    Border Regiment


Sydney was born in Leicester on 30 December 1898, the son of Albert John, a painter and paperhanger and Ann Matilda (nee Wilkinson).  Sydney had six siblings and the family lived in Leicester until about 1903, when they moved to Bolton.  In the 1911 Census the family were living at 76 Lawn Street, Bolton.  Sydney, aged 12 was a milliner’s errand boy and attended school part-time.       

 Sydney attested on 5 January 1915 at Bolton and gave his age as 19 years 40 days.  He gave his occupation as a crofter, which relates to the bleaching of cloth and was employed by Thomas Cross & Sons, Bolton.  He served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli and Egypt from 30 June 1915 to 13 January 1917.  However, in December 1916 it was confirmed that he was only 17½ years of age.  In January 1917, he was sent back to England by train from Etaples and ordered to report to the Commanding Officer at the Border Regiment Depot in Carlisle in accordance with instructions received for transfer to Home Establishment as under age.

On 24 January 1916 Sydney passed through Peterborough East Station and signed the visitors’ books.

On 25 January 1917, he transferred from the Border Regiment to 2/1 Monmouthshire Regiment and was promoted to Lance Corporal in September.  He spent the next few months in England before serving in France from 12 March 1918 to 2 February 1919.  In March 1918, he joined the 2nd Battalion Monmouthshire Regiment Territorial Force.  In July 1918, he was reduced to the rank of Private for not complying with an order.  He returned to England for a minor operation before being demobilised on 27 March 1919.  He was awarded the 15 Star, British War and Allied Victory Medals.

Sydney married Fanny Clunie on 15 April 1922, at Claremont Baptist Church, Bolton.  Fanny had lived only two doors away from Sydney’s family in Lawn Street.  In the 1939 Register Sydney and Fanny were living at Ashton-in-Makerfield in Lancashire, and Sydney was listed as a clergyman.  Sydney served at St Margaret Burnage, Manchester, Braintree in Essex, Bedingfield and Haydock.  He served as a chaplain to the forces from 1940 to 1943, was the vicar of All Saint’s Church, Salterhebble, Halifax from 1948 – 1953 and then the vicar of Heworth and Rufforth, York.  He died in Lancaster in 1983, aged 84.

Is Sidney’s story familiar? Please get in touch if you can tell us more.


You must be logged in to post a comment.