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This post has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Williams, to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Sydney John Sankey on this day, 100 years ago today.


sydney sankeyCaptain Sydney John Sankey, an acting captain in the 6th South Staffs, was killed in action at 4:30 on the morning of 25 September 1915. Sydney was the eldest child of Elizabeth Sankey and the late John William Sankey, who died in 1913, of Hunley Lodge, Penn Fields. He was a director of Joseph Sankey and Sons Ltd, the well known company based in Bilston which was sold in 1920 to GKN, one of their sites was on the land now occupied by Morrisons supermarket in Bilston. Sydney was one of sixty nine employees of Joseph Sankey and Sons Ltd. who were killed during the war and he is remembered on a plaque in St. Leonards Church, Bilston. Sydney joined the Territorial Army in 1911 and he was in trench 37 at Hill 60, having been made an acting captain due to the normal captain Billy Lewis being on leave. Sydney looked over the parapet for a sign of the patrol returning that he had sent out earlier as he was concerned over a new officer he had sent out. This quick glance over the parapet resulted in him being shot in the head and he fell backwards into the trench. He was taken to the Lane’s dugout but nothing could be done for him and he was subsequently buried that afternoon in Larch Wood Cemetery, he was 25. He was well thought of by his fellow soldiers according to diary extracts and he was thought of as being bright, full of ability, dependable and a quiet young man. His death was such a tragedy as he was preparing to go on a ten days’ leave to be able to go home and marry. Sydney is on the medal rolls and received the Victory, British and 1915 Star, he is on page 43 and page 11 of the medal roll. His grave reference is I.L.3. and he is in Larch Wood Cemetery in Ypres. A picture of which is below. Both the Express and Star and the Chronicle mention his death, other information has been obtained from research into the battalion.sankey grave