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The history of Clophill, Bedfordshire, UK
Including historical descriptions, maps and statistical analysis.

World War One

Sidney Sharman

KILLED IN ACTION - 22nd OCTOBER 1917 - AGED 22


 

BORN IN 1895 AND RESIDED CLOPHILL

PRIVATE 203288. 7TH BATTALION BEDFORDSHIRE REGIMENT.

ENLISTED IN BEDFORD.

COMMEMORATED IN CEMENT HOUSE CEMETERY, LANGEMARK-POELKAPELLE, WEST-VLAANDEREN, BELGIUM

 

In 1911 Sidney worked as a farm labourer, living in Great Lane, Clophill, with his parents Josiah, also a farm labourer and his mother, Emma, and a brother and sister. His parents had had 8 children by this time, six of whom had survived.

Sidney enlisted in January 1917 and was posted to France the following July.


The 7th Battalion was formed at Bedford in September 1914, as part of 'K2' - Lord Kitchener's 2nd call to arms for another 100,000 men. The 7th battalion served entirely in France and Flanders between their arrival in July 1915 and their disbandment in May 1918. In 1917 they were heavily engaged all year culminating in the First Battle of Passchendaele in October. Poelkapelle is located about five miles north-east of Ypres. During WW1 it was a strongly fortified German position, which the British struggled to take during the Third Battle of Ypres.

Although the line ran through the outskirts of the village for some time, it was not until the 22nd of October 1917 that the village was finally taken by part of 53rd Brigade. The operation to take the village included the use of what was known as a "Chinese attack", where dummy figures were raised above the trenches to fool the Germans as to where the attack would actually take place.

During the Great War, the 7th battalion lost around 800 men killed in action, with around another 7,000 being wounded or taken prisoner.

The Ampthill News reported his death as follows:- "We regret to record the death of another of our boys in France. Pte. Sidney Sharman of the Bedfords, was killed by shrapnel on October 19th (?) He had been in France for several weeks, and was going up into the trenches for the first time, when the shell fell that caused his death. Pte. Sharman was for about seven years organ blower at the Parish Church, and was always popular among the young men of the village."