Sidney GUNNELL (15th Nov 1885 – 23rd Nov 1914)

GUNNELL_Sidney

Sidney was born in St Mary Bourne on the 15th November 1885 in St Mary Bourne[1], likely one of 15 children born of Thomas GUNNELL & Mary Jane GOODYEAR[2] (the exact number of children has yet to be verified, along with all their names).  A few months after his birth Sidney was christened at the parish church on the 23rd April 1886[3].

StPetersChurch-StMaryBourne-1946

Little else is known of Sidney’s early days, it is presumed he went to the village school although no records have been found to confirm this, but it is known that some of his younger siblings did attend.

At some point either late 1904 or early 1905 Sidney joined the Army along with James Pike, Sidney was given Service No. 7389 and James, Service No. 7390 clearly both men went off to join together. They both joined the 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment.

On the 2nd April 1911[4], Private Sidney GUNNELL is found with his regiment in Wynberg, South Africa.  It is likely that Sidney served in various locations around the world after joining the Army as his regiment had been on a tour abroad since September 1903, they were stationed at Malta, Bermuda, Bloemfontein, Pretoria, Cape Town, Mauritius and India (The Hampshire Regiment, Regimental History, 1933).

On the 25th January 1912 Sidney returned home to St Mary Bourne, along with Frederick DAY[5] another friend from the village in the 2nd Hampshire Regiment.  After returning home Sidney was placed on the reserve and went about forming a life for himself.  It is not known who he worked for or what his job was back home, but it is known that he was a member of the village Fire Brigade and also that he was a member of the village Cricket team[6].   In fact he is mentioned in the local paper on the 24th July 1914 as being part of the St Mary Bourne Cricket team that played against Sutton Scotney at St Mary Bourne.

1914-07-24_Cricket_LeagueFinalists-Partial

1914-07-24_Cricket_SMBvSuttonScotney

In early August 1914, Sidney was called back to the Army and joined the 1st Hampshire Regiment.  He was sent to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force, landing in France with the regiment on the 24th August 1914[7].

Sidney served with his regiment in France and Flanders from the 24th August 1914 until the 23rd November 1914 when whilst on sentry duty he was killed by a German sniper.  The war diary for the period 19th – 30th November 1914 reports “German snipers very active and was the cause of all our casualties.”, during this period sadly 9 Other Ranks were killed (1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment – War Diary (1914) – WO 95/1495/1, 1914). Sidney was buried at the Lancashire Cottage Cemetery, Comines-Warneton, Hainaut, Belgium.

Gunnell_S-Web

 “Greater love hath no man than this; that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

St Mary Bourne section, Andover Advertiser 11th December 1914

For his service to his King and country Sidney was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, these would have been sent to his sister Jane in St Mary Bourne his next of kin, she was also sent a Memorial Plaque[8] (Dead Man’s Penny).

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GunnellS-ClaspLetter

GunnellS-DeathPennyWeb

GUNNELL_SYDNEY-CWGC

NOTE: Headstone, Medal, Memorial Plaque and letter photos are used with kind permission of Phil North.  Sidney was his Great Grandfather’s Uncle.

Works Cited

1st Battalion Hampshire Regiment – War Diary (1914) – WO 95/1495/1. (1914, Aug-Dec). http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/. Retrieved May 10, 2014, from The National Archives.

The Hampshire Regiment, Regimental History. (1933). Regimental Arrangement.

[1] Date/Place of birth from Birth Certificate obtained by Phil North and emailed to me November 2014.

[2] 1911 Census for Mary Jane GUNNELL (nee GOODYEAR) via Ancestry.co.uk, Class: RG14; Piece: 6308; Schedule Number: 72.

[3] Baptism details are from the parish records transcribed by myself.

[4] 1911 Census for Sidney GUNNELL via Ancestry.co.uk, RG14; Piece: 34977; Page: 8

[5] Andover Advertiser, St Mary Bourne section newspaper dated 25th December 1914

[6] Andover Advertiser, St Mary Bourne section newspaper dated 11th December 1914

[7] Medal Card for Sidney Gunnell, Service No. 7389 available on Ancestry.co.uk

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorial_Plaque_(medallion)

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