G/78999, Private, Sidney Thomas PRETTY
Aged 18

23rd Battalion, (City of London Regiment) Royal Fusiliers
(enlisted as No.TR/10/180318, TR Battalion)
Killed in Action on Saturday 7th September 1918

Born in Newmarket in Q1-1900 [Newmarket 3b:518], 2nd son of Bertram Frank and Lucy PRETTY (née HODGKINS) of Palace Street, Newmarket.

1901 census...Sidney [1] was at Palace Street, Newmarket, with his father Bertram F [30], a picture frame maker, born Sittingbourne, Kent; his mother Lucy [32] born Newmarket; brother Walter [5] and sister Emily M.[4],( all the children were Newmarket born) also uncle Thomas PRETTY[39] and aunt Ethel M HODGKINS [20].
They lived on the premises of the shop which subsequently became Benticks' Shoe Repairs and later still (1980's) "Palace Cafe". Another sister, Maud, was visiting (presumably her grandmother) widow Sarah PRETTY in Milton, by Sittingbourne, Kent.

1911 census...Sidney [11] was at Ingleside, Park Lane,Newmarket, with his parents, brother Walter Victor (assisting in the business), and sisters Emily , Sarah Maud [13] and Nora Madeline [6].

He enlisted in Norwich. Known as "1st Sportsmans Battalion". Quoted on 1914-1918.invision.com forum: "The Sportsman's Battalion was raised by Mrs. Cunliffe-Owen, who obtained a special concession from the King for men up to 45 years of age to join. This opened up the way for a large number of men, hitherto ineligible to become soldiers of the King. It was a sine qua non that a man who joined this Battalion should in reality be adept in some branch of national sport,and so it came about that men whose fame was known around the world were brought together to train for a rather more serious game."

The 23rd Battalion moved back to bivouac near Courcelles, where it remained until September 2nd. Moving forward on that day to Vaulx-Vraucourt, it attacked at dawn on the 3rd and reached Morchies, bivouacking near Doignes. On the 6th-7th the Battalion took over the front line from the 1st King's Royal Rifle Corps and delivered an attack on Slag Avenue, suffering casualties of 3 officers killed and 100 other ranks killed and wounded before being relieved on the 8th by the 52nd Light Infantry.
26 of this battalion died on the 7th September 1918, 16 have no known grave.

photo: Rodney Gibson

No known grave - Sidney is commemorated on the Vis en Artois Memorial, France-Ref:panel 3
and also commemorated on the Roll of Honour of All Saints School, Newmarket
and his parents' headstone in Newmarket cemetery (H 593)

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details