Sydney HENSON

  • 1911 Occupation                      Woodman
  • Domicile                                    Scrimshire Lane, Cotgrave.
  • Date of Birth                            July 1894, Cotgrave
  • Date of Death                          3 Sept  1916
  • Kin                                            George and Fanny Rose (Nee Whitby)
  • Regiment                                 1/7 Battalion Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding) Regiment
  • Division                                    49 (West Riding) Division
  • Brigade                                    147th (2nd West Riding) Brigade
  • Service Number                     4702
  • Enlistment Date                      29 March 1916, Newark
  • Rank                                         Private
  • Date of Death                          3 September 1916, Thiepval Woods
  • Age at Death                           22
  • Medals                                     British War and Victory
  • Commemorated                     Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 6A and 6B

The name Sydney Henson appears on the Cotgrave War Memorial and on the Memorial Board in All Saints Church, Cotgrave.
Sidney was born in Cotgrave in 1894 to George Henson and Fanny Rose (nee Whitby) and his Paternal Grandparents were Enoch Henson and Mary, (Nee Hallam). Enoch was a Wagoner and Agricultural Carrier, George was a Farm Labourer and Sidney, together with his brother, Evelyn, worked as Ploughboys. At the time Sidney enlisted, he gave his occupation as Woodman.
In 1911 George and Fanny Rose were living at Scrimshaw Lane, Cotgrave and had 7 children.
Both of Sidney’s brothers, Evelyn and Leslie and his sister, Bertha, saw service in WW1 and their names appear under ‘Those who Served’ on the Memorial Board in All Saints Church. Bertha married her husband Walter Kirk, at Etaples, France, whilst they were both on active service.
Sydney joined the Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding) Regiment on 29 March 1916 and moved to 1/7 Battalion in France shortly after his training.
On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, thirteen divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance. Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure.
In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained.
On 3 September 1916, just 5 months after joining the Army, Sydney was killed while fighting with his battalion in Thiepval Woods. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July. Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions.

ThiepvalThe Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.

Grantham Journal artical July 3 1920

This article copied from the July 3rd, 1920 Grantham Journal mentions  Sidney Henson as the War memorial was unveiled.