Sidney Walter Froome

Rank Lance Corporal
Service No G/3662
Date of Death 26/09/1915
Age 21
Regiment/Service Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) 8th Battalion.
Memorial Loos Memorial. This is in Loos-en-Gohelle, a village 5 kms north-west of Lens, France. The memorial commemorates over 20,000 officers and men who have no known grave, who fell in the area from the River Lys to the old southern boundary of the First Army, east and west of Grenay, from the first day of the Battle of Loos to the end of the war.

 

Sidney was born in Finchley in the last quarter of 1893. His parents were Walter Thomas (1854-1911) and Annie Froome, nee Burnell (1854-1930). He had nine siblings, Charles (1878–1886), George (1879–1978), Laura (1881–1943), Henrietta (1884-1906), Alice (1886-1979), Ethel (1889-1933), Harry (1892-1910), Cecil (b.1893) and Leonard (1897–1931).

Sidney was baptised in St Paul’s Finchley by the vicar on 24th December 1893. The baptism register states that the family’s address was 21 Salisbury Terrace, Long Lane, Finchley and his father’s occupation was ‘carpenter and verger of St Paul’s’. It also records that his brother Cecil was baptised on the same day, his older sister, Ethel, was baptised in the church on 23rd February 1890 and Sidney’s youngest brother, Leonard, was also baptised in St Paul’s in 1897.

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were still living at 21 Salisbury Terrace. Sidney is listed as resident along with eight siblings: Charles, George, Laura, Henrietta, Alice, Ethel, Harry and Leonard. At the time of the 1911 Census, the family were still living at 21 Salisbury Terrace. It states that ten children were born alive and that six are still living. Sidney’s mother is listed as a widow, who was married for 33 years, and Sidney, now aged 17, is recorded as working as a commercial clerk. Ethel was working as a domestic nurse for a family in Paddington.

A family relative has written via www.ancestry.co.uk as follows: “I believe that the house became number 99 Long Lane in the early 1920s. The family lived there from at least 1890 until the final survivor died in 1979. Burial records show that every member except Sidney was buried at Holy Trinity Church in East Finchley”. Even though 99 Long Lane is in the parish of St Paul’s and Sidney’s father was the church’s verger, the burials may well have taken place at Holy Trinity because St Paul’s has no churchyard.

Sidney arrived on the Western Front on 30th August 1915 and, less than a month later, was killed in action on the second day of the Battle of Loos (25 September–14 October 1915). This was the largest British offensive mounted in 1915 on the Western Front. In many places British artillery had failed to cut the German wire in advance of the attack. Advancing over open fields within range of German machine guns and artillery, British losses were devastating. Sidney’s battalion lost all but one of its officers, and 550 men. The first British use of poison gas occurred and the battle was the first mass engagement of New Army units.

Sidney’s older brother, George, who was employed by the Finchley Education Committee as a school inspector and married Violet Clarke on 9th September 1917, was present at a St Paul’s Church Vestry meeting that took place on 8th May 1912. He is also recorded as having been elected as a sidesman in April 1915. A ‘Mr Froome’ is present at the annual vestry meeting of 23rd April 1919 and the 1920 vestry meeting on 7th April 1920, at which he seconded the election of Walter Cope as ‘people’s’ churchwarden. A ‘Mr Froome’ is on the PCC as recorded in the minutes of a meeting held on 28th May 1920.