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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Pte Sidney John Stringer 2 Beds Regt d. 31/10/14

Will O'Brien

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As per CWGC


Initials: S J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment: Bedfordshire Regiment

Unit Text: 2nd Bn.

Age: 21

Date of Death: 31/10/1914

Service No: 3/6861

Additional information: Son of Alfred and Margaret Stringer, of Water End, Flitwick, Ampthill, Beds.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 31 and 33


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& the memorial info


Country: Belgium

Locality: Ieper, West-Vlaanderen

Location Information: Ypres (now Ieper) is a town in the Province of West Flanders. The Memorial is situated at the eastern side of the town on the road to Menin (Menen) and Courtrai (Kortrijk). Each night at 8 pm the traffic is stopped at the Menin Gate while members of the local Fire Brigade sound the Last Post in the roadway under the Memorial's arches.

Historical Information: The Menin Gate is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war. The Salient was formed during the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge. The Second Battle of Ypres began in April 1915 when the Germans released poison gas into the Allied lines north of Ypres. This was the first time gas had been used by either side and the violence of the attack forced an Allied withdrawal and a shortening of the line of defence. There was little more significant activity on this front until 1917, when in the Third Battle of Ypres an offensive was mounted by Commonwealth forces to divert German attention from a weakened French front further south. The initial attempt in June to dislodge the Germans from the Messines Ridge was a complete success, but the main assault north-eastward, which began at the end of July, quickly became a dogged struggle against determined opposition and the rapidly deteriorating weather. The campaign finally came to a close in November with the capture of Passchendaele. The German offensive of March 1918 met with some initial success, but was eventually checked and repulsed in a combined effort by the Allies in September. The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and it quickly became clear that the commemoration of members of the Commonwealth forces with no known grave would have to be divided between several different sites. The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields. It commemorates those of all Commonwealth nations (except New Zealand) who died in the Salient, in the case of United Kingdom casualties before 16 August 1917. Those United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war. Other New Zealand casualties are commemorated on memorials at Buttes New British Cemetery and Messines Ridge British Cemetery. The YPRES (MENIN GATE) MEMORIAL now bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known. The memorial, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick, was unveiled by Lord Plumer in July 1927.

No. of Identified Casualties: 54332

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Sidney is listed on the Flitwick memorial.........It's a 20 minute drive from where I live & I recall the memorial was very good condition when I saw it. No photo I'm afraid as my visit was prior to when I owned a digital camera :(

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Born: Flitwick

Enlisted: Bedford

Residence: Flitwick


1901 census, however has Sidney born in Pulloxhill, Beds. where his mother was born. Alfred his father was a Farm Labourer.

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As is often the case with CWGC and SDGW, there are slight geographical errors. Water End is nearer Pulloxhill than Flitwick and, with the advent of the A507 bypass, is now within the parish of Maulden. And anybody from Flitwick would resent any connection with Ampthill, which is yet further away from Water End !

Sidney was killed in the action around Gheluvelt and Zandvoorde. On 31st October the Bedfords held a line behind the Gheluvelt - Zandvoorde road but at 2.30 a.m. , part of C company was ordered to advance to a wood 250 yards in front and to hold that position against the advancing Germans, notwithstanding that the wood was a shell trap. The Germans started to shell the wood and the main line at daybreak and it was quickly realised that it was a hopeless situation. C company was ordered to withdraw, which it did but with heavy losses. The rest of the battalion was also ordered to "withdraw fighting" along the Ypres-Menin road and by mid-afternoon on 31st the Bedfords reached a position around Herenthage Chateau which they were able to hold for the rest of the day. The Bedfords had suffered heavily, losing their OC and 2-I-C killed in action, some 300 casualties in total. In fact, they were left with just 4 officers, the most senior of which was a Captain.

Stringer was and probably still is a common name in the west of mid-Beds and you will find a number of them enlisted into the Bedfords.

All the best


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