Private 17955 Sidney Riley

Killed in Action on Saturday, 29th July 1916, age 27.
Commemorated on Pier and Face 3 C and 4 A of Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France.

11th Bn., Cheshire Regiment. 75th Brigade of 25th Division.

Son of Mrs Caroline Riley, and the late Mr William Riley.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Chester, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, 25th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1551548/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
29 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Caroline Riley (42, Widow, born Tipton), and her 8 children: Thomas (22, Ironworks Labourer, born Tipton), Enoch (19, Machine Rivetter, born Tipton), Ada M. (17, born Tipton), William (14, Brickmaker's Helper, born Tipton), Sydney (12, born Tipton), Gertrude (10, born Tipton), Ernest (7, born Tipton), and Walter (4, born Tipton).

1911 Census
29 Dudley Port, Tipton, Staffs.
Caroline Riley (52, Widow, born Tipton), and 5 of her 8 surviving children of 9: Thomas (32, Iron Mill Helper, born Tipton), William (24, Iron Moulder, born Tipton), Sidney (22, Sheet Iron Shearer, born Tipton), Gertrude (20, Packer at Iron Foundry, born Tipton), and Walter (14, Iron Moulder's Helper, born Tipton).

Marriage of Sidney Riley and Lily Griffiths registered March quarter 1914 in Dudley.

Personal Data

After Sidney's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/2/10d (6 pounds, 2 shillings and 10 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Lily, in November 1916. His War Gratuity was £7/10/0d (7 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his widow in August 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Sidney had enlisted in November 1914.

Action resulting in his death

The following is the official report on the 11th Cheshire's tour of duty from 22nd July, in trenches opposite Beaumont-Hamel, in the heart of the Somme battlefield:-

"This line was very quiet.
A trench 'Hunter Trench' is being dug about 200 yards in front of our present front line and is daily damaged by shells and trench mortars of the Bosch who takes a particular delight in scattering shells all over No Man's Land during the night. The trenches we took over, though badly knocked about in places, were a great improvement on the Thiepval ditches or the Bosch lines at Ovillers and should assist the Battalion in finding its feet again. On the night of 29/30th the working party in the Sunken Road or Hunter's Trench was badly cut up by trench mortars and shells."

The 11th Cheshires had 12 men killed on 29th July and a further 7 men on the 30th. Sidney is recorded as having been killed in action on 29th July and like most of these men, Sidney has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette 8th September 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
Cheshire Regiment- Riley, 17955. S., (Tipton).