Sydney Dudley

Area : Brotherton
Born : 1890
Died : 24.10.1918
Service number : 60166
Rank : Private
Regiment / Service : York and Lancaster Regiment
Family information : Husband of Polly

War Service

Sydney joined the 2nd battalion York and Lancaster Regiment. Unusually, some of Sydney’s army records are amongst those still available and a number of interesting pieces of information can be gleaned. His period of service began on 12.12.1915.  His medical record shows that he was just under 5 ft. 5 inches tall, weighed 9 stone 6 pounds, had a 37 inch chest and brown hair. His heart and lungs were normal - not bad considering his profession.

Further records show that he was moved to the 3rd Battalion which was in reserve and not mobilised until 31/05/1918 and posted to France on 25.9.1918 for the final phase of the war Almost one month later, and only three weeks from the Armistice, Sydney was killed in action on 24.10.1918.

He was buried in St Souplet Cemetery which is quite close to Cambrai which was the scene of a major battle in October 1918 (not to be confused with the battle in 1917 which was the first major tank offensive). The battle of Cambrai was one of a series of battles that came to be known as the “Hundred Days Offensive” and was followed up by a steady drive eastwards.

Casualties remained heavy in all of the Allied fighting forces, as well as in the retreating German Army. Rearguard actions were fought during the Pursuit to the Selle (9 October), Battle of Courtrai (14 October), Battle of Mont-D’Origny (15 October), Battle of the Selle (17 October), Battle of Lys and Escaut (20 October) (including the subsidiary Battle of the Lys and Battle of the Escaut), Battle of the Serre (20 October).

There is no indication of exactly where Sydney was killed but it was obviously during the final push that led to the German surrender.

Family Life

The Dudley’s were not a Brotherton family in that Sydney’s parents, George and
Emma, were originally from the Midlands. George was born in Bonehill near
Tamworth, Staffs and Emma was from Birmingham. The Dudley’s moved north sometime between 1883/85 as Minnie was born in Fazeley in 1983 and the next born was William (1885) in Micklefield.

By 1891 they were resident in Gauk Street, Fairburn and George and son Albert were coal miners. Two other children had been added to the brood - Amos (5) and Sydney (6 months), both born in Fairburn. By 1901 sisters Hannah and Minnie had married (Hannah Green and Minnie Parrot) and George Jnr. and Elizabeth had also left. George Snr. was still a miner as was Albert whilst William and Amos were
‘pit-pony drivers’.

Ten years on in 1911 George Snr. is described as being ` at home formerly a coal miner` and Amos and Sydney were driving pit-ponies. There was also an Elsie Dudley - 9 year old grand-daughter living with them.

Sydney married Polly Rhodes on 13th April 1914. The couple appear to have settled in Jackson’s Row, Brotherton. Pollie’s family were in Brotherton from at least the mid 1700’s.

Sydney and Pollie had no children and after the war she was living in High Street, Brotherton whilst his parents were at Low Holland Farm in Fairburn.

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