Private Sydney BEATTIE

Regiment:                                      Lincolnshire Regimentlogo-cwgc2

Unit:                                                 4th Battalion

Service Number:                          202413

Date of Death:                               19 October 1918 – Died

Age:                                                   24 years

Cemetery / Memorial:              Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery

Grave / Panel Ref.:                     C. D1. Pink 36.

Beattie Grave

Home Life:

Sydney was born in the September quarter 1896, the son of Charles (Schoolmaster) and Louisa (née Barrell) (Schoolmistress) Beattie of School House, High Street, Ruskington, Lincolnshire (1901 Census RG 13/3048). He had an older brother, Cecil, born 25 September 1893. [See Footnote below]

Ruskington School [2]

In 1911 (Census RG 14/19618) the family were at the same Ruskington address, in the house alongside the School where Sydney’s parents were teachers.

[N.B. The postcard left dates from about 1920. The School House is on the left.]

Earlier in life Sydney had the misfortune to lose one of his eyes as the result of an accident and so suffered a severe handicap in the choice of a career. He was educated at the Sleaford Grammar School, and afterwards articled to the firm of Messrs. Earl and Lawrence. When the war broke out be held an appointment with a firm of auctioneers in South Wales, but being keen to serve he time after time he offered bis services to the army, which were at last accepted.

In the September quarter 1917 Sydney married Helen Ada Harston, probably in St. Nicholas’ Church, Lincoln. However, she died a year later, on 15th October 1918, and was buried on 19th, the same day that Sydney died in the 4th Northern General Hospital in Lincoln. He was buried with her 4 days later.

The Sleaford Gazette” of 19 October 1918 reported that:

MR AND MRS. C. BEATTIE, on Wednesday [i.e. 16 October], received the sad tidings of the untimely death of the wife of their second son, Pte. Sidney Beattie, which occurred at Lichfield. News of her serious illness from influenza come to hand by the morning’s post, followed by a telegram a little later notifying her demise.

The young couple had only been married a comparatively short time, the union proving a most happy one, the deceased lady possessing a most, sweet and charming disposition. The deepest sympathy is extended to her parents (who live at Lincoln), to the bereaved husband (who is suffering from influenza), and to his parents.

Helen was buried on the 19th in Newport Cemetery, Lincoln, but on the same day Sydney also died. His Pension Record gives the cause of death as “Pneumonia“, and “The Sleaford Gazette” of 26 October 1918 gave more details and of his life in general.

DEATH OF PTE. SYDNEY BEATTIE. Last week our columns recorded the death of Mrs Helen Ada Beattie, youngest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. E. Harston, Yarborough Road, Lincoln, and wife of Pte. Sydney Beattie (Lincs. Regt.), whose decease it is now our painful duty to chronicle. He was the younger son of Mr. and Mrs. C. Beattie, of the School House, and like his wife, succumbed to pneumonia, following influenza. The deceased was removed during his illness to the Military Hospital, Lichfield, where he died, despite the most unremitting care and attention, and it is a pathetic incident that his passing synchronised with the laying to rest of his wife at Lincoln.

Like a good soldier he obeyed orders, cheerfully doing “his bit”, and at the time of his fatal seizure he was engaged in the Records Office at Lichfield.

Larger memorial image loading...Sydney’s total effects, returned to his father, amounted to just 2s. 0d. [10p]. After the War Sydney’s mother, Louisa, received a small pension for the loss of her son.

His mother, Louisa, died at 20 Davenport Avenue, Bispham, Blackpool, on 17 October 1945, aged 76. Her widowed husband, Charles, died at 9 Monks Road, Lincoln, on 13 October 1949, aged 82. His estate was left to his surviving son, Cecil, by then an “Accountant“.

Louisa and Charles are buried together in Grave F.137, Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery (left).

Military Service:

Sydney enlisted in the 4th (Territorial Force) Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment on or about 25 July 1916 (according to his Service Number) at Newport, Monmouth. At the time he was resident in Ruskington, Lincolnshire.

The 3/4th Battalions was initially formed at home bases on 1 June 1915 and on 8 April 1916 it became the 4th Reserve Battalions. This was a training and recuperation unit, and never as a unit went overseas – so there is no diary and very little information. When a man was fully trained or fully fit, he was transferred to one of the four active territorial units.

On 15 August 1914 “The Sleaford Gazette” reported the mobilisation of the 4th Territorial Battalion under the title “THE TERRITORIALS – Leave Lincoln for Belper – STRIKING SCENES OF FAREWELL” as follows:

The organisation of the Territorial forces being complete, the 4th Battalion Lincs. Regt. left Lincoln during Tuesday morning [i.e. 11 August] for Belper, near Derby, where they are to ln undergo further training before being finally disposed of. By request of the War Office and the Press Committee, we publish no details as to the ultimate destination and duties which the Battalion will be called upon to perform. The Battalion is now complete, and the men presented a very soldierly appearance, which attracted most favourable comment, as they passed through the Lincoln streets.

However, because of his disability (blind in one eye) Sydney was prevented from active service but he had done what he could, first in the Recruiting Department at Lincoln, and later in the Records office at Lichfield.

His Records show that on the 19 October 1918 Sydney ‘Died‘ in the Military Hospital, Lincoln, whilst based at the 4th Battalion ‘Depot’. The Battalion had their Headquarters at the Drill Hall, Lincoln.

Details of his Military funeral are given in the account in “The Sleaford Gazette” of 26 October 1918.  The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, 23 October, from the house of Mr. Harston (to whose residence the body had been removed), and full military honours were given, the bugle band of the Lincs. Regt. being in attendance. Eight soldiers acted as bearers, and drew the bier, the coffin being draped with the Union Jack.

The last resting place of the deceased was by the side of his wife in the Harston family vault in St. Nicholas Cemetery. Sub-Dean Leeke, vicar of the parish, read the burial office. At the conclusion of the last solemn rite, a firing party of 20 fired the usual three volleys followed by the “Last Post.”.

The floral offerings were numerous and of lovely character many being in the regimental colours, and without particularising, mention may be made of one from the South Staffs, section, Lichfield. In their sad double bereavement, if sympathy will in any degree assuage their grief, Mr and Mrs. Beattie, and Mr and Mrs. Harston will have the consolation of knowing that it is given unstintingly by a wide circle of friends both far and wide.

Lincoln Drill Hall - used as a Hospital

The 4th Northern General Hospital in Lincoln occupied the old buildings and fields of the former Lincoln School (now Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School).

It held 41 Officers and 1,126 Other Ranks beds with over 45,000 men being treated there during the war. Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery, near the hospital, contains 139 First World War burials.

Picture 1 of 4Sydney was buried on the 23rd in what is now the CWGC Plot in Lincoln (Newport) Cemetery. The Cemetery also contains the grave of Cpl. Charles Richard Sharpe, 2nd Battn, Lincolnshire Regiment, who was awarded the Victoria Cross on 9 May 1915. He died of natural causes on 18 February 1963.

Beattie CSydney’s older brother, born 25 September 1893, also served as Lieutenant Cecil BEATTIE, [See photo right], Middlesex Regiment.

On 21 May 1918 Cecil married Ethel May Stone at St Bartholomew’s Church, Ducklington-with-Hardwick, Oxfordshire. Cecil died in the September quarter 1958 in Ealing, Middlesex, Ethel two years later in Avonbank, Perth County, Ontario, Canada.

 

Sources:

  • I am grateful to the British War Graves for the photo of Sydney’s grave
  • BBC Lincolnshire for the photo of The Drill Hall.
  • The Sleaford Gazette“, 15 August 1914; 19 October 1918 and 26 October 1918

 

 

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