Private Sydney Graham

Poppy-2Killed In Action
Regiment: Leicestershire Regiment
Battalion: 6th
Service Number: 25806
Date of Death: 1st September 1918
Age when killed: 22
Cemetery: Bancourt British Cemetery ll. M. 15
Born: Hoby 1896
Parents: Charles & Anna Graham of Hoby

Sydney Graham was born in Hoby in 1896. He was the youngest of the eight children of Charles Graham, an agricultural labourer who was also been born in the village, and his wife Anna. They lived at Lodge Farm, then known as The Lodge. Sydney was still living in Hoby at the time of the 1911 Census and working as a page boy, possibly at Brooksby Hall. His father died and by 1916 the family had moved to Enderby. When he enlisted on 1 March 1916, his occupation was that of an elastic braid hand in the textile industry. He was 19 years old and 5 ft. 10 inches tall.

Sydney sailed from Folkestone on 21st July 1916 and was posted initially to the 7th Battalion of the Leicestershire Regiment but was transferred to the 6th Battalion on 4th August during the Battle of the Somme. On 21st October he sustained a gunshot wound from which his injuries included a broken forearm. He was treated in the 2nd Australian General Hospital at Boulogne, a large tented hospital which specialised in the treatment of fractures. He was discharged on 23rd December and returned to active service on 17th February 1917 but on 29th March he was sent back to England on the Hospital Ship Lanfranc suffering from a chest condition and boils.
He returned to France on 11th June 1917. The Regiment’s best known action during the remainder of 1917 took place in October at the battle of Polygon Wood near Ypres for which Lt. Col. Philip Bent was awarded a posthumous V.C. By 9th November, Sydney Graham was suffering from trench foot and was sent back to England for treatment. He was a patient at the Southern General Hospital, Edgbaston from 19th November until 5th February 1918, in buildings requisitioned from the University of Birmingham. From there he was sent to Wearde Camp (sic) at Saltash, Cornwall until 16th February to convalesce. He returned to France on 31st March 1918.

Bancourt British Cemetery

Bancourt British Cemetery

Sydney's medal record

Sydney’s medal record

The actions around Bapaume in which Sydney Graham died on 2nd September 1918 formed part of the Battle of Amiens, the British Offensive which is regarded as the turning point of the War on the Western Front. During this Offensive, which began on 21st August, the 3rd Army, which included the Leicestershire Regiment, advanced 60 miles in 80 days. It broke through the Hindenburg Line and captured 67,000 prisoners before the Armistice of 11th November which ended the War.

Sydney Graham was posthumously awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal. He was survived by his mother, his two brothers, one of whom served in the Royal Engineers during the War and four sisters.