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Sydney Waterworth was the son of Dorning and Jane Ann Waterworth, of 10, Railway View, Adlington, Chorley, Lancashire.

In 1911, his father was working as a machinist in an Iron works. He had three brothers and two sisters. William, Annie and Hilda were all older than he was, and all worked in a mill. Sydney himself was only 13, but too worked in the winding room of the cotton mill. His two younger brothers, Harry and George were still in school.

On the 21st February 1915 Sydney attempted to enlist in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, he was given the service number 20291 but the following month he was discharged as not being likely to become an efficient soldier, on medical grounds. The medical officer at Chester, wrote that he had a maximum chest measurement of 32″ and was poorly developed and delicate.

Unperturbed, on 12th October 1915, Sydney successfully enlisted in the 4th (Territorial) Battalion, Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. He signed a term of service for the ‘duration of the war’. He was given the service number 4440, and later the new Army number 201721.

At the time of his enlistment, Sydney was 18 1/2 years old, 5′ 4″ tall, and had previously been working as a dyer.

On 3rd June 1916 he embarked at Southampton bound for La Havre, as part of a wave of reinforcements. He arrived in France the next day, and joined 1/4th Battalion in the field two weeks later. They were now part of 164th Brigade in 55th (West Lancashire) Division.

In late July 1916, the division was detailed to take part in the ongoing battle of the Somme. They took their place in the line on the night of the 30th opposite the village of Guillemont. The plan was to capture the village (which had proved to be a major sticking point thus far), enabling further advance. On the night of 8th August 1916, they assembled in trenches near Trones Wood in preparation for the attack. The attack was largely unsuccessful, the right flank being held up almost from the start. Soon the whole line began to retire. The main failing was attributed to great confusion caused by mist, and enemy smoke bombs.

It was during this attack that Private Sydney Waterworth was posted as missing in action, presumed dead.

Sydney Waterworth is remembered on the  THIEPVAL MEMORIAL, Pier and Face 11 A.

In July 1921 his mother, Jane, took receipt the British War and Victory medals for her late sons service.

On 9th November 1921, the vicar of Adlington wrote to Fulwood Barracks, Preston on behalf of Sydneys’ parents. He asked whether any of Sydneys’ belongings had been recovered, as his parents had never received anything.

Paul McCormick
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