Biography of Private Sydney George Little (8243)
aka Sydney Cole
“C” Coy, 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment
Died 14th March 1915


  • Name: Sydney George Little
  • Date of birth: 1888
  • Place of Birth: Poplar, Middlesex, England
  • Date of Birth Registration: October – December 1888
  • Place of Birth Registration: Poplar, Middlesex, England


  • Name: William Henry Little
  • DOB: 2nd July 1849
  • Place of Birth: Snaith, Yorkshire, Endland
  • Occupation: Sailor


  • Name: Gertride Emma Munton (aka Norton)
  • DOB: 1886
  • Place Of Birth: Lyddington, Rutland, Endland
  • Marriage: 14th September 1886 Eastry, Kent, England

Siblings: (Name), (DOB), (POB)

  • William Henry Little, 1887, Lyddington
  • Sydney George Little, 1888, Poplar
  • Harold Little, 1890, London
  • Daisy Little, 1891, Baston
  • Frank Arthur Bontoft, 1894, St Pancras (half brother)


  • 1891: Sydney can not be found as yet.
  • 1901: Sydney is living with his Uncle George and Aunt Ellen Cole in Main Street, Baston, Lincolnshire.
  • 1911: Sydney is living with his Regiment 2nd Northamptons in Malta. The census gives him an age of 23 and he is listed as a private. At this point Sydney with using the surname Cole.

Relatives in services

  • Sydney’s brother William Henry Little also fought and died in WW1.


  • No marriage for Sydney has been found and because of his age we can assume that he never had the opportunity to marry.

Newspaper Mentions

  • The Times Thursday April 8th 1915
    Cole, 8243 S.


  • Lincolnshire Free Press  Friday 21st May 1915
    Much sympathy has been shown to Mr and Mrs a Cooke and family on the loss of their son, Corporal A Cooke, of the 2nd Lincolns, who was killed in action in the recent severe fighting. Lance-Corp F.J. Dann of the same regiment, conveyed the sad tidings to Mr and Mrs Cooke in a letter received from him last Friday, in which he stated:- “I am very sorry to have to tell you that your beloved son fell in our last engagement on Sunday the ninth inst., about 10 am, being shot through the head. He died instantly. I am sure everyone in the company are in morning with you as he was so well liked and respected by all who knew him.” A memorial service to him and another Baston lad, Sydney Cole, of the 2nd Northamptons, killed at Neuve-Chappelle, was held in the church on Sunday evening, at which there was a large congregation. The vicar spoke very consolingly to the mourners, and a muffled peal was wrung on the church bells, the school flag was half mastered, both lads being former scholars. Another son of Mr and Mrs Cooke, who was wounded in the retreat from Mons, has recently been promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major in the Kings own Royal Lancashires. In the same engagement mentioned above another Baston lad, Lance Corporal W Featherstone, Second Lincolns, was wounded in the hand, though, fortunately, not very seriously. In addition to the two killed this is the third wounded young man from Baston, one case necessitating amputation of right leg.


  • Lincolnshire Free Press Tuesday 1st June 1915
    PTE. SIDNEY COLE, of Baston, belonging to the Northampton Regiment, who has been killed in action at the front.

      Military Records

      Attestation Papers

      • None found

      Soldier’s Died In The Great War

      • These records show that Private Sydney Cole, 8243, 2nd Bn Northampton Regiment was killed in action on 14th March 1915 in the Western European Theatre in France and Flanders.

      Pension Records

      • None found

      Effects Left To

      • Father William G


      • The British Medal
      • The Victory Medal
      • The 14 Star with clasp


      • UK:
      • Baston, Roll of Honour inSt John the Baptist Church


      • Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
      • In memory of Private Sydney Cole, 8243, “C Coy” 2nd Bn., Northamptonshire Regiment who died on 14 March 1915 Age 26
      • Son of Mr. G. Cole, of Atter’s Yard, Baston, Peterborough.
      • Remembered with honour, Le Touret Memorial
      • Panel 28 to 30

      Courtesy of Baston Parish

      © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

      © Picture taken by South Lincolnshire War Memorials

      Military Service Timeline

      Sidney George Little was born about 1888 in Poplar London to William Henry Little, a retired sailor born in Snaith Yorkshire, and his wife Gertrude Emma Munton (also known as Norton) of Lyddington Rutland, born in 1866.
      The couple were married on the 14th September 1886 in Eastry Kent and their first son was born in Gertrude’s home village of Lyddington one year later. In all they were to have four children although by 1894, a forth son was born to Gertrude Emma with her new partner Frank Bontoft. At this point we have no evidence that William Henry Little had died or that Gertrude and Frank Bontoft were married.
      The 1901 Census for Main Street Baston shows Sydney G Little, aged 12, born in London living with his Uncle George Cole, aged 40, an agricultural labourer born in North Luffenham and his wife Ellen, aged 42, born in Lyddington (sister to Gertrude Emma Munton, but born Ellenor Baker in 1858). The couple are living next door to Allan Atter, the baker and so it is possible that Gorge Cole is living in Atter’s Yard.
      For the 1911 census George and Ellenor Cole (married 1885) were still living in Baston, in Atter’s Yard however Sydney Little is no longer living with them.
      On the 1911 census Sydney Cole can be found in Malta with the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. Using Sydney’s service number of 8243 we can calculate that he joined the 2nd battalion Northamptonshire Regiment in late 1906 when he would have been 18 years of age.
      Later in 1911 Private Sydney Cole of the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment was placed on Court Marshall in Malta. The accused was charged with “Drunkeness” as per section 19 of the Army Act of 1881 and on being found guilty was given 35 days detention and fined £1. This fine was remitted at 10/-
      Usually men who joined the Army as a career soldier rather than for territorial service, which is correct in Sydney’s case, would sign for 7 years and then be placed on Army reserve for a further 5 years. If Sydney joined in 1906 then his seven years would have been up in 1913, this would leave him the choice of being placed on army reserve or sign for a further 5 years making his full 12 years service.
      In 1912 Sydney’s brother William Henry was married in Derbyshire to Florence Mary Lowe. William’s father is entered on the church marriage registry entry as William Henry Little, a sailor. It does not suggest that father William was deceased.
      As no service records for Sydney survive we are not sure if he left the Army and was placed on reserve or was still serving in his regular unit when war was declared in August 1914. If he was on Army reserve then he would have immediately been mobilised and in many cases the men would be re-united with their original Battalion within days if not weeks.
      When war broke out the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment were serving in Alexandria. The reports in the Battalion war diary started on the 6th August.
      6th August 1914 – Alexandria
      Telegram received ordering mobilisation in accordance with defence scheme (Local).
      Ammunition and rations for 24 hours issued at once, guards placed as required & visual signalling established. Time taken 1 1/2 – 2 hours. Inlying Piquet mounted.
      7th August 1914
      Mobilisation orders issued. Wire entanglement placed round cable house where a daily guard (1 NCO & 4 men) mounts.
      10th August 1914
      2nd Lieut Cowgil 3rd battalion Notts & Derby Regiment joined from Cyprus. Where he was employed
      11th August 1914
      A line of resistance in the town from the sea on the North to Mahmudieh Canal on the south, facing West having been decided on, the Battalion route marched along it. The object of this line is to divide the native quarter from the European & so prevent looting & afford a refuge for Europeans.
      12th August 1914
      One torpedo boat reported off here today. 2nd Lt Cowgill employed in Censor’s office with 2nd Lt Beresford 2/Northampton Regiment.
      13th August 1914
      Heard that England & Austria are at war.
      14th August 1914
      Departure of French reservists in two boats, Lotus and Caledonian. Band played the away from quay
      15th August 1914 – Alexandria
      Had practice alarm for Machine Gun service & armament sections. Including a march of 300 they actually fired in 38 mins.
      16th August 1914
      Arrival of Capt Elston from Port Said
      17th August 1914
      Telegram received that battalion will shortly proceed to England with all families & baggage. Orders issued accordingly
      20th August 1914
      HMS Warrior came in today from Port Said, convoying two prizes. Left again about 7pm.
      21st August 1914
      Capt Pears R.E. passed through on his way to Cairo off leave.
      The battalion went about its usual business over the next few days. On the 29th they received news of a successful naval action off Heligoland. They also managed to arrest one German who they thought was a spy walking through the town. It appeared he was a piano Tuner called Hugo Hauck who had been living there for some time. He was eventually deported.
      At first it was believed that the families will follow with on later with another regiment but this was changed and so the entire Battalion and families were due to leave Alexandria together.
      26th September 1914
      Left barracks at 5:45am and marched to docks, picking up town detachment on the way who had also been relieved by a detachment of 5th Manchester’s. Arrived at docks at 8.15am and began to load arms and equipment, the 1st Manchester Regiment have the fore part of the ship and we the after part.
      By 10.30am all were aboard & told off to messes at 11.15am. Heavy baggage was tackled & work on it continued until 11.3pm at night when it was completed. It included 50 tons of ammunition which had to be loaded by hand, Embarkation state is attached. Our animals go on the SS Indian. Families were on board by about 10.30pm. Description of transport attached.
      The Deseado sailed out of Port Said at 5.30am on the 30th September but had to wait for their escort who arrived at 7.30am (two French cruisers and a despatch boat).
      The Deseado was a liner owned by the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, launched in 1911 and was a twin screw design capable of 13 knots. She was an intermediate boat usually on the South American route also for carrying frozen meat.
      The report from the war diary about the ship noted:-
      Accomodation : For men, good. One Battalion being quartered forward and one aft. Each in 54 messes.
      Mess decks airy and well arranged. 3rd Class. Women and children has 2nd Class saloon while 2nd class had 1st class smoking saloon as a dining room. 1st Class cabins excellent. Deck space for troops better than on ordinary transport
      Latrines and washing: Rather scanty. Only 4 places where kit can be washed and only two baths for each regiment.
      The battalion thought they were heading for England as per orders but they were given information that the escorts were heading for Marseilles. On the 3rd October they sailed past Malta, Sardinia on the 4th and eventually arrived at Marseilles at 5.30am on the 6th October.
      The arrival at Marseilles surprised the staff who assumed they were bound for England by ship and they asked for confirmation orders from the War Office. There were orders to cross France by train i.e. the fighting portions. This is to take about 7 days in all; 2 1/2 to collect the trains and 4 for the journey. What is to happen to the un fits, women and children & baggage is not divulged.
      7th October 1914
      Still awaiting final orders as to whether we are to go by train or boat; meanwhile we are wasting valuable time and rations are getting short onboard. Heard at 10pm we are to go by sea to Southampton.
      8th October 1914
      Left Marseilles at 7am, being last of the convoy, but, as we have orders to proceed full steam to Gibraltar to drop some ammunition that we took in Marseilles, we soon go ahead. The rest are to come on at 11 knots, we have no escort.
      The ship arrived in Gibraltar on the 10th, took on some guns and dropped the ammunition before scheduled to sail out again on the 11th under the escort of Levithan at 5.30am meeting with the rest of the convoy, although it was 9am when the convoy left as they had to wait for the Indian to take on a horse.
      Rather than head for Southampton the orders had changed and passing Smalls Light House they made independently for Liverpool arriving at 10pm on the 16th October.
      The men were told to go immediately to Winchester by train, leaving the women and children on board also “A” company to look after the heavy baggage.
      They eventually arrived at Winchester at 12 noon on the 17th October.
      The 2nd battalion were then camped at Hursley Park 5 miles from Winchester to form one battalion of the 24th Brigade of the 8th Division.
      On the 18th the men of three companies were granted Furlow and one day later when A company arrived they were granted 48hrs leave before they returned and mobilisation for war started on the 21st October.
      Training and route marches were ongoing along with the mobilisation preparations.
      4th November 1914 the Battalion eventually marched out of Hursley Camp at war strength and headed for Southampton boarding the SS Turcoman, a cattle boat, by 9.40pm embarking for France at 11.45pm.
      Arriving at Harvre about 2pm on the 5th November the Battalion had to wait for the tide and eventually disembarked at 9am on the 6th November. We know from his medal records that Sydney Cole arrived in France on this day with his Battalion.
      The Battalion originally were held in camp at Havre before entraining on the 9th November for the front. The train would take then through Rouen, Abbeville, Boulogne and Hazebruke before they detrained at Merville at 3am on the 11th November 1914 for billets at Merville Road and Neuf Berquin.
      They were next ordered to trenches at Pont Logy on the 13th November 1914. The brigade line was between Pont Logy crossroads and a point 1 mile away although the Battalion took up a section of 200 yards of the Pont Logy – Fleurbaix road, the German lines varying between 80 and 500 yards away.
      We next look at the Battalion Diary for the men’s and Sydney’s first action of the war.
      15th November 1914
      Considerable shelling of the trenches and ground in rear took place all day, resulting in a few casualties. Most of the shelling was from 4in howitzers or guns about that calibre firing high explosives; at night a considerable amount of firing took place. Owing to the wet and muddy state of the trenches the ammunition got coated with dirt which when inserted in the chambers rendered extraction so difficult that a large number of extractions ?? & the rifles became unserviceable, in places the mud was 2 feet deep and walking was nearly impossible.
      Casualties up to midnight were 3 killed and 12 wounded including two officers.
      16th November 1914
      Today the conditions improved a little though the trenches were still nothing more than mud drains. Considerable shelling went on all day and intermittent sniping, a few men being hit through the loopholes.
      17th November 1914
      In the trenches
      18th November 1914
      In the trenches. We are being relieved by the 2nd East Lancs tomorrow night. They have been in the trenches on the left having relieved the Indian Brigade, but have had one night off in the billets. Weather still bad. A Very Pistol foring light cartridges was used today and proved useful at night in quelling alarm due to imaginary attacks.
      19th November 1914
      The East Lancs arrived about 7pm and began to take over from us. The system of relief being the same as described above (not covered by this transcription). The weather had turned very cold and snow covers the ground. The relief was completed about 11.30pm and the Battalion marched into billets at Pont De Hem about 1 1/2 miles in the rear.
      20th November 1914
      In Billets. All ranks are taking a well earned rest. Many men’s feet are very bad, no less than 52 cases of frostbite, necessitating admission to hospital, having occurred.
      21st November 1914
      In billets. These billets are bad particularly the large hiding known as Red Barn. It holds two companies but the exits are so bad that in case of shell fire or alarm, considerable time would be taken to get the men out. There are dug outs but in this weather (10 degrees of frost) it is rather hard to keep companies permanently in them.
      The equipment and clothes are in a fearful state and it might be mentioned that the web (mills) equipment has shrunk so much that in many cases ends no longer meet. Whether it will ??? Seems doubtful.
      As we can see following the experience of Alexandria pre war the Battalion had a very rough time in their first tour of a Western Front Trench.
      The next relief and tour of the trenches started on the 22nd November but the diary notes that 100 men had to be left behind with bad feet. The diary goes on about the conditions and the remedies over the next tour and is well worth a read for anyone to really understand the conditions that we have heard about is less details elsewhere. The men got used to the conditions on the next tour and only suffered 3 killed and 1 wounded showing that they had adjusted to trench life very quickly.
      An appendix to the war diary shows that on the 30th November 1914 the battalion reported:-
      18 all ranks killed.
      47 all ranks wounded
      250 all ranks in hospital including 4 officers. In nearly every case the admissions were due to frostbite.
      We next join the Battalion at Christmas time 1914.
      21st December 1914
      In billets at La Gorgue. The number of presents received by the battalion at this time became almost embarrassing ; mufflers, belts, scarves abounded while the number of cigarettes amounted at one time to a hundred and twenty per man.
      22nd December 1914
      At about 10am orders were given to be prepared for an immediate move but nothing came of it. This we heard later was due to the discovery by our airmen of six battalions of German infantry in the neighbourhood of Bas Pommereau. At 3pm the Battalion marched back to its old lines near Pont Logy.
      23rd to evening (5.30pm) 25th December 1914
      In the trenches. Weather fair at first turning to frost on Xmas eve. Xmas day being cold and fine.
      On Xmas eve, the Germans and our men got into conversation eventually meeting on the “no mans land” between trenches. Cigarettes and buttons (non-regimental) were exchanged and one of our men even got to their parapet and looked in. The German Private soldiers seemed very friendly and said they did not wish to fight us, eventually even cheering the English. Most of them seemed very young as was also an officer who came and spoke to one of ours. They wished to have no firing on Xmas day to which we agreed as far as concerned the two companies of ours (A&B) immediately opposite this part of the line.
      The cessation was to be from midnight to midnight. The next morning on instructions from our brigade, we again got into conversation with them and they admitted that they had suffered heavily from our artillery fire on the previous evening. They also sent some cigars and bread. We sent them some papers. Further intercourse was stopped by superior orders not, however, before two of their officers sent a letter (translation attached) which was far from complimentary.
      The truce was, however observed honourably by both sides. In the evening, the Germans decorated their trenches with lights and there was a good deal of singing on both sides. One of our Captains was killed in another part of the line bout 8am on the 25th but there appears to be no reason for treachery.
      The Battalion was relieved at 5.30pm and went into billets at the Red Barn.
      Casualties Killed: Captain C H R Watts; Wounded: 10
      26th December 1914
      Suspecting that the Germans might attempt an attack after attempting to lull us into a false sense of security by their friendly advances, great ??? Was enjoined on all ranks and colour was lent to these suspicions by a deserter who came in further along our line and stated an attack was arranged for 12.15am. We were , in consequence, turned out and spent a cheerless night in reserve trenches near Rouge Croix. No attack was made and we returned to our billets at 7am 27th. Whether the man lied or whether the timely opening of our artillery first checked the attack cannot be determined.
      27th December 1914
      In billets. While in their billets everyman received a Xmas card from their Majesties & a present from Princess Mary, consisting of tobacco, pipe and cigarettes for smokers and a writing can & sweets for non-smokers.
      28th December 1914
      A very bad day, rainy and blowing a gale, The battalion returned to the trenches at 5.30pm. This was the worst night the Battalion had, a violent gale driving the rain with cutting force before it.
      29th – 31st December 1914
      The fire trenches became very wet in places being under water while the communicating trenches became impossible.
      During this time, various projects were on hand in the trenches e.g. the digging of support trenches, emergency fire trenches, new communicating trenches etc. For this work parties of the 5th Black Watch, Northamptonshire yeomanry and cyclist company 8th Division were detailed nightly. On New year’s eve, battalion was relieved by 1st Worcestershire Regiment and went into Divisional reserve at La Gorgue.
      The strength of the Battalion at this time was 21 officers, 678 other ranks. 171 men had been sent to England up to 24th December.
      January and February were a repeat of the tours the Battalion had seen in December, being in Billets at Red Barn, In Trenches, In billets at La Gourgue, in trenches and repeat. Being February there was snow and rain and new recruits were arriving to increase the strength some of these only having four months army experience (training) one such only with 11 weeks.
      During the month of February nearly every officer and a percentage of NCOs and one private got leave in England, mostly for 7 days, a few for fire.
      On the 8th March 1914 the battalion returned to the trenches.
      9th March 1915
      On the night of the 9th -10th March the Battalion was holding the trenches in B lines. At 12 midnight an order was received to move A and D companies to the right and left into C & B company’s trenches after clearing away the obstacles from their front leaving the trenches free to be occupied by the 23rd and 25th Infantry brigades.
      10th March 1915
      At 6am 10th of March our artillery fired a few shells into the enemy’s trenches and also to the rear of them.
      At 7.30am very heavy bombardment of the enemy’s position by guns of every calibre took place.
      At 8.05am the 23rd Brigade advanced, stormed and seized the enemy’s first line & cleared the village of Neuve Chapelle.
      C & D Companies of the Battalion were then ordered to advance to assist the 25th Brigade to dig trenches beyond the village facing Bois-de-Biez, later the companies were ordered back to assemble at Sign-Post-Lane.
      At about 5pm the Battalion was ordered to make an attack in a South East direction. A & C Companies (C being Sydney’s company) leading, B & D Companies in support. The 7th Division on our left and the Worcesters on our right.
      The battalion advanced about 1000 yards and dug itself in about 400 yards on the further side of the village. The casualties were heavy during this attack from rifle and machine gun fire.
      11th March 1915
      In the morning of the 11th march about 7am “C” Company and part of A Company attempted to renew the attack several times but were repulsed by heavy fire from the enemy’s machine guns suffering very heavy casualties.
      At 12 noon D Company attempted to advance but were repulsed by heavy fire, Lieutenant Coldwell being shot in both legs, and Lieutenant Gordon in the throat. The Battalion remained in the trenches for the remainder of the day.
      12th March 1914
      In the trenches for the remainder of the day. At Dawn on the 12th instant the Battalion was heavily attacked by the enemy who were easily repulsed and nearly all shot down.
      A Little later Colonel Prichard (The commanding officer) ordered the regiment to advance and attack the enemy’s trenches. This order was carried out, some few men reaching the enemy’s trench and found it vacated.
      During this attack captain’s Wood-Martin and Stocker were killed.
      Finding it impossible to hold the Enemy’s captured trench, the commanding officer Colonel Pritchard ordered the Battalion to retire to the trench from which it had attacked, during the retirement the adjutant (and author of this battalion diary thus far in the war) was killed.
      The regiment remained in this trench for the remainder of the day and was relieved on the night of the 12th-13th by the Devon regiment and the Middlesex Regiment, several officers including Captain Capell were hit during this day. The battalion suffered severe losses and retired to Rue Tilleloi where it remained until the morning of the 13th.
      13th March 1915
      Colonel Prichard was wounded early on the morning of the 13th, while talking to the Brigadier General. Captain Smyth and Lieut G.A. Parker the only remaining officers took the Battalion into billets at Rouge Croix.
      The strength of the Battalion on reaching billets was 2 officers and 158 other ranks.
      Total casualties of the battalion were as follows:-
      Officers: Killed 10, Wounded 7, Missing 1
      Other Ranks: killed 102, wounded 203, missing 109.
      The night before the battle the strength of the battalion had been 22 officers, 594 other ranks (i.e 4 + 180 left)
      13th March 1915
      The Battalion remained in billets at Rouge Croix on the night of the 13th. During the afternoon of the 13th Captain Haldaine rejoined from hospital; Captain Smyth and Lt Parker reported sick from effects of the four days in the trenches in which they had been up to their waists in water. The Battalion was ordered to stand to ready to return to the trenches in case of attack.
      The billets were heavily shelled during the afternoon. The Regimental Serjeant Major Lee returned at about 8pm bringing with him the headquarters’ signallers and several men that had been separated from the Regiment.
      The Machine Gun Section under 2nd Lt Lawrance also joined that night.
      14 March 1915
      The Battalion remained in billets till 6pm. The billets were again heavily shelled, at 7pm the Battalion gain paraded for the trenches strength 1 officer and 181 ranks. The Machine Gun section came into the trenches late at night the same day.
      15th March 1915
      The Battalion remained in the trenches attached to the 1st Worcestershire battalion as they were so few in numbers.
      16th March 1915
      On the afternoon of the 16th the trenches were shelled, 2 men being killed and four wounded. At 8pm the regiment was relieved by the Devon regiment, and marched back to billets at La Gorgue, the battalion was billeted in the FRANC factory. Major Howatt took over command of the Regiment from Captain Haldaine the same evening, having arrived from the 1st battalion. Captain F GoddardJackson from the 1st Battalion and 2 Lt H.S. Beatty from hospital also joined from hospital.
      All official papers point to Private Sydney Cole 8243 of the 2nd Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment being killed in action on the 14th. The only action on the 14th was the shelling of the billets. With all the confusion of the battle it is hard to imagine someone surviving through to the 13th only to be killed by shelling on the 13th or 14th. No casualties were reported from the shelling of the 13th or 14th, in the diary and so it is unclear if Sydney Cole could be one of the killed or more likely missing in the action of the 12th and his body was never recovered, hence his inclusion on the Le Touret memorial to the missing.
      The official report of his death on the 14th is the only true evidence we have even if it the most unlikely outcome ans Sydney was a casualty of the battle of Neuve Chapelle.
      Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
      In Memory of Private Sydney Cole, service number 8243, “C” Company, 2nd Battalion, Northamptonshire Regiment who died on 14th March 1915 age 26. Son of Mr G Cole, of Atter’s Yard, Baston, Peterborough.
      Remembered with Honour, Le Touret Memorial (Panel 28 to 30)
      Lincolnshire Free Press – 21st May 1915
      Much sympathy has been shown to Mr and Mrs a Cooke and family on the loss of their son, Corporal A Cooke, of the 2nd Lincolns, who was killed in action in the recent severe fighting. Lance-Corp F.J. Dann of the same regiment, conveyed the sad tidings to Mr and Mrs Cooke in a letter received from him last Friday, in which he stated:- “I am very sorry to have to tell you that your beloved son fell in our last engagement on Sunday the ninth inst., about 10 am, being shot through the head. He died instantly. I am sure everyone in the company are in morning with you as he was so well liked and respected by all who knew him.” A memorial service to him and another Baston lad, Sydney Cole, of the 2nd Northamptons, killed at Neuve-Chappelle, was held in the church on Sunday evening, at which there was a large congregation. The vicar spoke very consolingly to the mourners, and a muffled peal was wrung on the church bells, the school flag was half mastered, both lads being former scholars. Another son of Mr and Mrs Cooke, who was wounded in the retreat from Mons, has recently been promoted to the rank of Sergeant-Major in the Kings own Royal Lancashires. In the same engagement mentioned above another Baston lad, Lance Corporal W Featherstone, Second Lincolns, was wounded in the hand, though, fortunately, not very seriously. In addition to the two killed this is the third wounded young man from Baston, one case necessitating amputation of right leg.
      Sydney Cole also know as Sydney Little is also remembered on the memorial in Baston Church
      Sydney’s photo courtesy of Baston Church book of remembrance
      More information regarding to Sydney can be found on our own web site
      Sydney’s brother William Henry Little also enlisted in the army during the war at Edwinstowe where he was living at the time. It is possible that Initially he served with the Royal Army Service corps, but most records say that he was a private in the 26th Royal Fusiliers (London Regiment) Bankers Battalion. He was serving abroad with the Battalion between 17th June 1917 and 3rd August 1917 when we was killed in action in the battle of Picklem Ridge. William Little is remembered on the war memorial at Belper Derbyshire.
      His widow Florence was still living in Edwinstowe near Newark when she received William’s Pension from February 1918.
      CWGC Memorial Information – Le Touret
      The Le Touret Memorial commemorates over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September 1915 and who have no known grave. The Memorial takes the form of a loggia surrounding an open rectangular court. The names of those commemorated are listed on panels set into the walls of the court and the gallery, arranged by regiment, rank and alphabetically by surname within the rank. The memorial was designed by John Reginald Truelove, who had served as an officer with the London Regiment during the war, and unveiled by the British ambassador to France, Lord Tyrrell, on 22 March 1930.
      Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war, including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), Neuve Chapelle (10 – 12 March 1915), Aubers Ridge (9 – 10 May 1915), and Festubert (15 – 25 May 1915). Soldiers serving with Indian and Canadian units who were killed in this sector in 1914 and 1915 whose remains were never identified are commemorated on the Neuve Chapelle and Vimy memorials, while those who fell during the northern pincer attack at the Battle of Aubers Ridge are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.
      The British Expeditionary Force in French Flanders, 1914 – 1915
      In October 1914, II Corps of the British Expeditionary Force moved north from Picardy and took up positions in French Flanders where they were immediately engaged in the series of attacks and counter attacks that would become known as the ‘race to the sea’. Over the course of the next year most of the British activity in this sector focused on attempting to dislodge the German forces from their advantageous position on the Aubers Ridge and capture the city of Lille, a major industrial and transport centre which the Germans had occupied early in the war. The ridge is a slight incline in an otherwise extremely flat landscape from which the Germans were able to observe and bombard the British lines. Following the British capture of the village of Neuve Chapelle in March 1915, the Germans greatly strengthened their defences along the ridge, reinforcing their positions with thick barbed wire entanglements, concrete blockhouses and machine gun emplacements. These extra defences frustrated British attempts to break through enemy lines and led to very heavy casualties at the battles of Aubers Ridge and Festubert in May 1915.
      Le Touret Military Cemetery
      The men of the Indian Corps began burying their fallen comrades at this site in November 1914 and the cemetery was used continually by field ambulances and fighting units until the German spring offensive began in March 1918. Richebourg L’Avoue was overrun by the German forces in April 1918, but the cemetery was used again in September and October after this territory was recaptured by the Allies. Today over 900 Commonwealth servicemen who were killed during the First World War are buried here.
      We will remember them.


      • WW1 Soldier’s Records (
      • British Newspaper Archive.
      • Fold 3
      • Find My Past
      • Genealogist
      • Forces War Records
      • British Army Service Numbers
      • War Gratuity Calculator
      • Commonwealth War Graves Commission
      • National Archives – Battalion War Diaries
      • General Registry Office