Chris Linnett has been able to piece together the following information:
Sydney Clarke was born in 1898. At the age of 18 he lived at 18 Cecilia Road, Clarendon Park, Leicester and enliste4d into the Leicestershire Regiment with Service Number 31914. During his examination at Glen Parva in 1916, he gave his civilian trade as 'Box Cutter'. Sydney was later transferred to The 2nd Battalion, The Lincolnshire Regiment.
At the time of the 1911 census, Sydney was 14 and lived with his mother, Edith Clarke, who was already a widow at 41 years old. Other members of the household were Edith's sister Sarah Wightman (49) who worked as a charwoman and Edith's other children (Sydney's sisters) Ethel, Eveline and Agnes. Ethel (19) was a dressmaking machinist, Eveline (16) was a hosiery cutter and Agnes (11) was still at school.
4 Aug 1914 - Sydney accompanied the Bermuda Regiment to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
3 Oct 1914 - Sailed for UK, landing at Devonport. From Devonport, Sydney was sent to Hursley Park near Winchester to Join the 25th Brigade (8th Division).
6 Nov 1914 - Landed at Le Havre.
4 Feb 1914 - Joined 62nd Brigade (21st Division).
31 Jul 1916 - Transferred to the Lincolnshire Regiment.
24 Aug 1916 - Army records show that Sydney was inoculated/vaccinated.
16 Aug 1917 - Killed-In-Action during the Third Battle of Ypres.
Amongst Sydney's belongings was this postcard, in his handwriting. [It appears to be a list of towns and villages - perhaps places visited during Sydney's time in France and Belgium - Ed.]
Perhaps the most remarkable memento of Sydney Clarke's war service is his personal notebook. To view this, please click the pdf icon:
From his notebook we learn that Sydney was a member of the Machine Gun Section - this explains why he needed to be able to recognise various aircraft - the Lewis Gun that he operated was often deployed in an anti-aircraft role.
Like thousands of other young men in this conflict, Sydney was Killed-in-Action in "France & Flanders". He died on 16 August 1917, aged 20. Sydney has no known grave, but is commemorated on the Tyne Cot memorial (Panel 35 to 37 and 162 to 162A), Belgium. Tyne Cot is the largest Commonwealth war cemetery in the world in terms of burials.
Sydney fought and died during the Battle of Langemarck - a phase of the Third Battle of Ypres. A friend who did some research for Chris Linnet established that Sydney Clarke was killed in the area of Pilckem Ridge and was buried near the German war cemetery at Langemarck.