Our People - Sidney Bretherton
7 October 1916
#14836 Sergeant Sidney Bretherton
12th (Service) Battalion, King's (Liverpool Regiment)
61st Brigade, 20th (Light) Division
Killed in action 7 October 1916 age 24
Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. Ref: Pier and Face 1D 8B and 8C
Son of John and Elizabeth Alice Bretherton, of Slater Lane, Leyland, Preston, Lancs.
Sidney Bretherton was born in early July 1892 in Ulnes Walton to Elizabeth A Bretherton (nee Hart), age 28, and John Bretherton, age 33. John worked as a finisher at the local bleachworks. Sidney was baptised 24 July 1892 at St.James, Leyland.
In 1911, the family lived on Slater Lane in Leyland. Elizabeth and John had a large family and they were all in the textile trade in some capacity or another, Sidney's job was as a weaver in a local cotton mill. Sidney gained some experience of command when he was a staff sergeant in the Leyland St.Andrew's Church Lads' Brigade.
Sidney attested on 1 September 1914. He was passed fit and is described on his medical examination paper as being 5 feet 7 and three quarter inches tall and weighing 128 pounds. His chest was 36 inches with a 2 inch rate of expansion. His was a fair complexion with grey eyes and light hair. His visual acuity was normal in both eyes and pulse a pulse rate of 72. He gave his religion as Church of England.
The 12th Battalion of the King's (Liverpool Regiment) were formed at Seaforth September 1914 and went to Aldershot to join the 20th Division. In February 1915 they were at Witley and then in April 1915 they were in training on Salisbury plain. On 23 January 1915, Sidney was promoted to unpaid Lance-Corporal and paid Lance-Corporal on 15 February 1915. On 24 July 1915 the 20th Division landed at Boulogne and Sidney was promoted Corporal on 17 August 1915.
Their first battle action was at Mount Sorrel on the Ypres Salient from 2 February 1916. Sidney was promoted Lance-Sergeant on 9 April 1916 and Sergeant 9 August 1916. From there the 20th went to the Somme where they took part in the Battle of Delville Wood at Guillemont from 21 August, next they were in action at the Battle of Guillemont from 3 September. He was next in action at the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 16 September, the Battle of Morval from 27 September 1916 and then the Battle of the Transloy Ridges from 1 October where Sidney was killed in action on 7 October 1916. The war diary for the 12th Battalion explains the attack they made that day.
The local newspapers reported his death as follows.
John Bretherton received £6 18s in March 1917 and a war gratuity of £12 on 9 October 1919. On 26 June 1920, Sidney's 1914-15 Star was sent back to be amended as some details on the medal were incorrect. Sidney's name appears on the family gravestone at St.James, Leyland and he also appears on three memorials in Leyland - Church Road Civic War Memorial, St.Andrew's C.E. WW1 Plaque and the St.James's C.E. WW1 Cross.
Gravestone memorial to Sidney Bretherton at the family plot, St.James's churchyard, Leyland
The Battle of Transloy Ridges. 1 - 18 October. A derelict hansom cab found in Bazentin-le-Grand is renamed "10 Downing Street" and filled with grinning British soldiers.
© IWM (Q 4383)