Private 5392 Sidney Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe Sidney 96 345x600 Ratcliffe Sidney 96 415x600

Died of Wounds on Monday, 3rd July 1916, age 19.
Buried in Grave I. B. 42. at Puchevillers British Cemetery, Somme, France.

Machine Gun Corps (Infantry), 64th Company. 21st Division.
Formerly 18996 South Staffordshire Regiment.

Son of Richard and Elizabeth Ratcliffe, of 100, Leabrook Rd., Wednesbury, Staffs.
Born: Wednesbury, Enlisted: Wednesbury, Resident: Unknown.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Mark's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/512004/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
7 Oakeswell Street, Wednesbury, Staffs.
Richard Ratcliffe (44, Tube Maker, born Wednesbury), his wife Elizabeth (40, born Wednesbury), and their 4 children: Joseph (18, General Labourer, born Wednesbury), Ada (8, born West Bromwich), Sidney (4, born Wednesbury), and Edward (2, born Wednesbury).

1911 Census……Surname spelt 'Radcliff'.
100 Leabrook Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Richard Ratcliffe (54, Labourer - Breeze Washer, born Wednesbury), his wife Elizabeth (50, born Wednesbury), and their 4 children: Joseph (21, born Wednesbury), Ada (18, born West Bromwich), Sidney (14, Breeze Washer, born Wednesbury), and Edward (12, School, born Wednesbury).

Personal Data

The Tipton Library Memorial commemorates S J Radcliffe, the 'Staffordshire Roll of Honour' also says S J Radcliffe, MGC.
The Commonwealth War Graves, Soldiers Died in the Great War, St Mark's Memorial, and his Medal Index Card all spell his surname as Ratcliffe, as does the registration of his birth.

Action resulting in his death

Sidney Ratcliffe was in the 64th Company Machine Gun Corps, which was attached to the 64th Brigade of the 21st Division. On the first day of the Somme, 1st July 1916, the 64th Brigade attacked just to the north of Fricourt. Due to effective artillery preparation there was early success and by 8.00am they were in Crucifix Trench, their first objective, facing Shelter Wood. At this stage the German machine gun fire made further progress impossible, and the Brigade switched to defence before being relieved later in the day.

On the 3rd July the 64th Brigade came back into the line taking part in the capture of Shelter Wood to the north of Fricourt.

These two actions caused the 64th Brigade to have the heaviest Brigade casualties of any Brigade in the Fricourt / Mametz sector. It is probable that Sidney was wounded on one of these two actions, and was moved to the Casualty Clearing Station at Puchevillers where he died on the 3rd July. He is buried in Puchevillers British Cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Wednesbury Borough News 16 June 1917
Private Sidney Radcliffe is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Radcliffe, 100 Leabrook Road, Wednesbury. He was only 19 years of age, and enlisted in May 1915, in the South Staffords, but was transferred to the Machine Gun Section. He went to France in February 1916.
Official intimation has been received that he died of wounds received in action, on July 3rd 1916.