Private Sidney William Dawes, 11th Battalion, Royal Warwickshire Regiment, was killed in action on 30th April 1917. He was born in Knowle in 1893 and was the youngest of the ten children (seven sons, three daughters) of parents Robert (a nurseryman) and Mary Annie (née Field) who had married in 1871.
The family seems to have moved around in the Midlands area. Robert was born in Admaston, Shropshire, in 1851 but had moved with his parents to Wednesbury by 1871, where he was working as a carpenter. He had changed jobs and areas by 1881, and was living in Balsall Heath with his wife and children and working as a bricklayer’s labourer. By 1891, the family had moved to Knowle, moving to Dorridge by 1901 and Packwood by 1911, where Robert was a nurseryman at Packwood Nurseries, with his wife and several of his sons, including Sidney, working in the business as gardeners.
Sidney married Annie May Busby in the Warwick area between July-September 1915, presumably around the time he enlisted in the Army on 12th July 1915. On enlistment, he gave his address as “Packwood, Dorridge” and father, Robert, as next of kin, but this was later crossed out and his wife’s name inserted, with an address of Claverdon Green. He was recorded as 5ft 3.5in tall, and aged 22. It looks as if he served two spells in France – 6th February 1916-18th March 1916 and 21st March 1917 until his death on 30th April 1917.
Sidney’s first overseas service seems to have come to an end as a result of illness in that he was admitted to the County of London War Hospital, Epsom on 18th March 1916 suffering from chronic bronchitis. He was admitted to the Command Depot Hospital in Sutton Coldfield in June 1916 suffering from gas poisoning. On 22nd January 1917 he was again admitted to hospital in Yorkshire, suffering with bronchitis. He was discharged “much improved” 16 days later on 6th February 1917, and returned to France on 21st March 1917, just 41 days before he was killed.
Initially, he was reported as missing on 29th April 1917 but a memo dated 4th July 1917 from the Adjutant of the 9th Battalion Scottish Rifles reported that he had died of wounds on 30th April. His wife was informed accordingly, and an announcement appeared in the local newspaper:
Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser 21st July 1917ROLL OF HONOURDAWES – On the 30th April 1917, Sidney William Pte Sidney William Dawes, of the R.W.R., reported missing, now reported died of wounds in France, the beloved husband of Annie May Dawes. Claverdon Green, near Warwick. Sadly mourned by wife and all.
In January 1918, his widow was awarded a pension of 18/9d per week for herself and one child. Their daughter, Dorothy May Dawes, was born between January-March 1916.
Sidney has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial. He is also commemorated locally on war memorials at Hockley Heath and Packwood.
If you have any further information on the family, please let us know.
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
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