CLAXTON, Sidney George

No.12024, Private, Sidney George CLAXTON
Aged 24

8th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday, 11th August 1917

Sidney George Claxton was born in 1893 in Brandon (Thetford Q4-1893 4B:357), son of Herbert and Mary Ann CLAXTON (née RUDD).

1901 census...Aged 7, he was at Bushy Lane, Hollesley, Woodbridge with his father Herbert CLAXTON [43] engineer/machinist born Norwich; his mother Mary Ann [40] born Swaffham, Norfolk; sister Edith [16] born Ealing; brothers Frederick Gordon [11] and Hubbard Charles [8] both born in Brandon.

1911 census...Aged 17, mechanic, he was at Bushy Lane, Hollesley, Woodbridge with his parents and brother Hubbard Charles (also working with father). Of the eight siblings, 3 had died.

The "living relatives" form signed by his mother on 5th May 1919 gave father dead, mother, brother Fredericks [28] and Hubbard[26] and sister Florence V [31] living at 82 Hatfield Street, Ipswich, and sister Edith, married to ? ,[33] at 96 Winchester Street, Sherwood. His father had died in Woodbridge in 1913.

He died in the same action as another Santon Downham man, Hector Lockwood see here

He enlisted in Norwich, originally in 7th Battalion,Norfolk Regiment.
He attested in Norwich on 17th August 1914 giving his date of birth as September 21st 1895 ( 2 years off his age, clerk error ? untrue statement ?). Occupation carpenter, born in Brandon. He was 5 feet 4.5 inches (163.8 cm) tall, weighed 112 lbs (51 kg), chest 31.5" to 33.5" (80.7 to 85.1 cm)
His Army records are badly burnt and his postings are missing. His medical records show he was wounded in the right leg on 19th September 1915 at Hauts Farm, Bailleul, taken to 37 Field Ambulance and thence to 1 CCS (Chocques just north of Bethune), returning to duty on 1st October 1915.
A spell of synovitis of the left knee kept him from duty from 16th November to 21st November 1915. On 29th September 1916 he was admitted to no 14 General Hospital, Wimereux diagnosed later with trench fever on 12th October 1916.
He then apparently was evacuated to England and spent 88 days in hospital with trench fever, from 30th January 1917 to 27th April 1917.Then he embarked at Folkestone for Boulogne on 26th May 1917, joining 17 Infantry Brigade Depot in Calais the following day and joining 8th Norfolks on 17th June 1917.

The war diary is far too expansive about the operations from 10th to 16 August 1917 to record here, but in essence the battalion was in the Zillebeke area, and arrived at Chateau Segard at 08:30 on 10th, preparing to advance and take Inverness Copse. Having been moving around for 22 hours, they reached the front line in front of Ritz Street, when at 04:30 on 11th the Germans attacked and broke through to take a strong point. . With the assistance of some 6th Berkshire they recaptured the strong point by 06:00. From noon on the 10th to the morning of 12th they lost 1 officer killed, 7 wounded and 47 OR killed or died of wounds and 99 wounded.

Not what you imagined, this was Inverness Copse in September 1917

The scene 98 years later

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Sidney Claxton is commemorated on the Menin Gate, panel 4

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