202455 PTE. S. MILL. MANCH.R.

 

Sidney Mill was born in the second quarter of 1892 in Lostock Hall.  His father was Robert Mill (b. 1847 in Kingskettle, Fife, Scotland).  Robert moved to Preston in the late 1860s where he met his wife, Eliza Fletcher (b. 1856 in Preston).  Robert and Eliza were married at St John’s in Preston in 1872 and they had four children: Lucy (b. 1879), Catherine Isabella (b. 1885), Robina (b. 1888) and finally Sidney.  The family had moved to Lostock Hall by the mid 1880s and Robert worked as an engine tenter in one of the mills.  Eliza died in 1908 and Robina died the following year.  In 1911, Robert, Catherine and Sidney were living at 1 Almond Cottage, Lostock Hall.  Sidney at the time was an apprentice painter and decorator.

 

Sidney probably enlisted in 1916.  He signed up in Liverpool with the Manchester Regiment and was assigned service number 202455 and posted to 2/5 Battalion.  2/5th Battalion was formed at Wigan in August 1914 as a second line unit under command of 199th Brigade in 66th (2nd East Lancashire) Division.  The Division moved to France in February-March 1917, all units having arrived by 16 March.

 

On 19 March, they moved to the front line at Cambrin.  A number of men from the Battalion were attached to the Royal Engineers for mining duties.  The trenches are in a bad condition.  They suffer a gas attack and several casualties result.  They were relieved on 23 March and went into billets at Cambrin.  Back in the line from 27-31 March, there are exchanges of artillery by both sides but casualties are light.  At the end of the month they are relieved and go into reserve at Noyelles.  From 4-8 April they are back in the trenches, which are deep with liquid mud.  Conditions are made even worse by a snowstorm on 10 April.  Back in the line from 12-16 April, they suffer light casualties almost every day.  They rest at Noyelles and then return to the trenches on 20 April, close to Cambrin.  Some of the trenches appear to be in better condition, but others have been blown in by ‘minnies’ (Minenwerfer, or short range mortars).  There are further gas and artillery attacks by the Germans on 22-23 April aimed at preventing the front line trenches being used to assemble troops for an attack.  The War Diary reports 5 OR casualties on April 23 and CWGC confirms two men from 2/5Bn were killed.  Sidney Mill was 25 years old.  He had been in France probably 5 or 6 weeks.

 

Rank:  Private

Service No:  202455

Date of Death:  23/04/1917

Regiment/Service:  Manchester Regiment, 2nd/5th Bn.

Grave Reference:  J. 13.

Cemetery:  CAMBRIN MILITARY CEMETERY

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