This blog posting has been prepared by one of our volunteers, Ann Eales.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website entry for SE Dain records
Rank: Second Lieutenant
Date of Death: 07/12/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Engineers Postal Sect,.
Grave Reference: V. E. 39.
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension.
Wolverhampton Higher Grade School Memorial, and Wolverhampton Area Postal Workers Memorial, both have this information too.
A search for military records, found only his Medal Index Card, showing that he joined service as a Corporal, Regimental number 27769, before promotion to Second Lieutenant. There is also a small entry recording “Died 7/12/18 (Flue) [sic]”.
Three large hospitals were stationed at Abbeville in WW1, and it was the Head Quarters of the Commonwealth lines of communication, so Sidney Dain succumbed to influenza, and was possibly admitted to hospital, near to where he was stationed. His death occurred after Germany signed the Armistice on 11th November 1918.
His Medal Card also records “OIC Recs (Officer in Charge Records) forwards Application for Clasp for Mrs SE Dain in respect of her late husband 5/5/20. Widows address Mrs Dain 29 Paget Road Wolverhampton.”
Information about the Postal Section of the Royal Engineers is that they performed an important role. This operation was controlled by the GPO, and apparently even questions in Parliament about forces mail were answered by the Postmaster General, and not the War Minister. At its peak during the war the GPO was dealing with an extra 12 million letters and a million parcels being sent to soldiers each week. The article headed “How did 12 million letters a week reach soldiers?” , dated 31 January 2014, explains this.
Sidney Edward Dain was baptised at St Marks Church on June 9th 1889, his parents being Herbert, a Boot Clicker, and Christabella, of 29 Mander St. His birth was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1889. At the time of the 1891 census the family lived at 29 Mander Street and consisted of Herbert age 36, Boot Clicker, Christabella age 38 born at Pontesbury Shropshire (the other members of the family were all born at Wolverhampton) and their 4 sons Herbert J Dain age 12, Frederick A Dain age 8, Ernest C Dain age 3, and Sidney age 1, the 3 older boys all “Scholars.”
By 1901 the family, still living at 29 Mander Street, was Herbert, age 46, a Rent Collector, his wife Christabella age 48, Herbert J Dain age 22, Leather Merchants Assistant, Frederick A Dain age 18, Accounts Clerk, Ernest C Dain age 13 Hardware Factors Warehouse Boy, and Sidney age 11. The 1911 census shows the family living at 15 Lea Road. Herbert now age 56 still works as a Rent Collector, Christabella is age 58, Ernest Christopher age 23 is working as a Carpenter and Joiner employed by a Builder, and Sidney Edward, age 21 is a Sorting Clerk and Telegraphist working, for the Post Office – significant in view of his subsequent Army Service.
Sidney Dain’s marriage to Gertrude E Reed was registered at Wolverhampton in the second quarter of 1915. The birth of Sidney J Dain, mother’s maiden name Reed, was registered at Wolverhampton in the quarter ended June 1919. This was Sidney Edward Dain’s son, who, sadly, would have never known his father