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Sydney was born on 26 December 1897 to parents John Cooper Richardson (a Foreman Filesmith) and Mary Hannah Richardson (nee McAllister), living at 54 Bright Street, Wolverhampton. He was baptised on 13 January 1898 at Christchurch in Waterloo Road. The family moved a few times, being at 58 North Road in 1901 and 36 Dunkley Street in 1911, by which stage Sydney had three brothers and a sister.

Sydney joined the Royal Army Service Corps Field Ambulance Company, enlisting on 4 March 1914 with the permission of his parents (as he was only 16 years and 2 months old). He was given the service number 1536, which was later changed to T4/243308. His service records not only give more detail about his movements (he was posted to 2/3 North Midland Field Ambulance Company, 59th Division), but also lists his offences, as follows:

Date Offence Punishment
1 May 1915 Disobeying order Loss of three days pay
24 September 1916 Playing cards in barrack room at 11.45pm 3 days C. B.
30 April 1917 Parading 30 mins late with wagon 7 days C. B.

“C. B.” in the above context means “Confined to Barracks”. This gives a little insight into the sort of man that Sydney was.

Sydney survived the war, and went on to marry Muriel Evelyn Andrews in September 1927 at St Andrews Church, Whitmore Reans. They had a daughter called Yvonne, born the following year. Sydney died on 25 February 1967, and his remains were placed in the Garden of Remembrance at Bushbury Crematorium.