12249 Corporal Sydney Alfred Proctor Collier

9th(Service)Battalion

Devonshire Regiment

1st July 1916

Born on 22/12/1894 in Ware Hertfordshire. He was baptised on 10/01/1895.

His parents were Alfred Lang Collier(31/08/1864-1937) and Violet Alice Baldwin(02/10/1869-1948).

They were married on 21/01/1888.

Sydney had a brother; Henry George(26/02/1898-1979) and

2 sisters; Margaret Josephine Proctor(1891-1976) and Beatrice Mary Proctor(13/02/1893-04/10/1985). 

At sometime between 1898 and 1901,Alfred and Violet separated as the 1901 census showing only Violet and Henry living together. Sydney and Margaret were sent to live in

St Mary's Home Orphanage in Brighton. Beatrice was sent to live with her grand parents.

In the 1911 census, Sydney is recorded as boarding at

Latimer House, 1-2 Fitzroy Square, London. He was employed as a clerk in a country order department.

He enlisted in London and his date of disembarkation into France was on 27/07/1915.

He was killed in action on 01/07/1916.

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star,

the 1914-1918 British War and the Allied Victory medals. 

Folkestone, Hythe, Sandgate & Cheriton Herald- Saturday 29 July 1916.

“Corporal Sidney Alfred Proctor Collier of the Devonshire Regiment only son of Mr Alfred Collier 84 Sandgate Road, has been killed. He was 21 years of age. Second-Lieutenant J.G.Pocock of the Devon Regiment writing to his father says:- “Dear Mr Collier – I am most distressed at the news of your son’s death in action, while leading his bombers, and I beg to offer you my deep and sincere sympathies. I knew your son when the battalion was raised till the Battle of Loos, when I came back wounded. I picked him out for promotion in January 1915, I think, and I never regretted my choice. He wrote me several times since Loos and I followed his movements with the upmost interest, because amongst many fine men in my platoon, there was none I liked more personally or appreciated more as an n.c.o. He was a good soldier, smart, and keen and above all cheerful; and I feel his loss very much. In all his work your son was so quiet and dependable and all the officers in the company shared my very high opinion of him. I feel certain he fell gallantly leading his men and thus helped to uphold that glorious tradition which the regiment owns. We shall always be proud of him and the others who paid the great price. If you have a copy of his photograph, I should appreciate it very much. When I return to France there is none, I shall miss more than him. It is hard to write all one feels but I trust you will be comforted by the knowledge of our high opinion of your son and that you will accept my sincerest sympathy in the loss which

(I fully realise)is to you something greater than we can know.””

 

2nd Lieutenant John Grahame Pocock (born 02/09/1895) was promoted to captain in the Indian Army and survived the war. He died on 16/12/1981.

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