Private 6948 Henry Sinclair

Sinclair Henry 96 436x600

Killed in Action on Thursday, 3rd August 1916, age 31.
Buried in Grave VII. C. 6. at Ancre British Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France.

3rd Bn., Worcestershire Regiment. 7th Brigade of 25th Division.

Husband of Mrs M. Hockell (formerly Sinclair), of 59, Sedgley Rd., Woodsetton, Dudley.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Dudley, Resident: Dudley.

First landed France & Flanders, 1st 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/2854165/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Henry Sinclair registered September quarter 1884 in Dudley.

1901 Census
16 Gatehouse Fold, Dudley, Worcs.
William Sinclair (40, Blacksmith's Striker, born Chester), his wife Sarah A. (39, born Tipton), and their 8 children: John (18, Blacksmith, born Tipton), Henry (16, Grocer's Assistant, born Tipton), Joseph (14, Worker in Brass Factory, born Dudley), George (12, born Dudley), James (9, born Dudley), Margaret (7, born Dudley), Sophie (5, born Dudley), and Mary (9 months, born Dudley).

1911 Census
57 Birmingham Street, Dudley, Worcs.
William Sinclair (52, Anchor Smith's Striker, born Chester), his wife Sarah A. (50, born Tipton), and 3 of their 9 surviving children of 12: Henry (26, Labourer at the Mond Gas Works, born Tipton), Mary Elizabeth (12, born Dudley) and William (8, born Dudley).

The first 3 months of 1913 were busy for Henry. His marriage to Martha Elizabeth Nicholls was registered in Dudley, and the birth of their son, Henry Sinclair, was also registered in Dudley, presumably in that order.

Personal Data

After Henry's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £9/17/7d (9 pounds, 17 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his widow and sole legatee, Martha E., in November 1916. His War Gratuity was £11/0/0d (11 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his widow in December 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Henry had enlisted in August 1914.

Action resulting in his death

Henry Sinclair landed in France on 1st September 1915, and was posted to the 3rd Worcesters. Initially the 3rd Worcesters were with the 3rd Division, but transferred to the 25th Division in October 1915.

As the Battle of the Somme began on 1st July 1916, the 25th Division was in Fourth Army Reserve, in billets a few miles beind the line in Varennes. On the 2nd July they moved into Aveluy Wood, awaiting their introduction into the battle; this came on 6th July just to the south of Thiepval, at the infamous Leipzig Redoubt. After suffering almost continuous artillery bombardment and German counter-attacks, they were relieved on the night of 7th July. So far, the Somme had already cost the lives of 35 men of the 3rd Worcesters.

Despite their heavy losses they were back in action on 10th July near La Boisselle. Here the 3rd Worcesters assisted the 8th Loyal North Lancs trying to encircle the village of Ovillers where a frontal assault by 32nd Division was having great difficulty. For the next week the Worcesters were in action aiming to capture the village of Ovillers, and opening up the approaches to the Pozieres Ridge. They were under German fire or involved in skirmishes for a great part of the time, and had another 40 men killed before they were relieved on the 17th July - the village of Ovillers having been captured on the 16th July.

The 3rd Worcesters were out of the line for 2 weeks until they relieved the 10th Cheshires in the line north-east of Hamel on 31st July. This was in the Ancre Valley, on the west bank of the River Ancre in the vicinity of today's Ancre British Cemetery.

Each day from the 1st to 5th August the War Diary repeats the simple line: "Battalion in trenches opposite Beaumont Hamel"; Stacke's "Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War" calls this "a fairly quiet time". Despite this, the Worcesters had another 8 men killed, including Henry Sinclair on the 3rd August. There were no offensive or defensive actions in the 3rd Worcesters area at that time, so it is likely that Henry was killed by German artillery or machine gun fire. He is buried in Ancre Bitish Cemetery, not far from the location of the 3rd Worcesters at this time.

Newspaper Cuttings

Evening Despatch 7th September 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
Worcesters.- Sinclair, 6948, H., (Tipton).