Sunnyside in Kingsbury Episcopi

Sidney Reed


The forgotten soldier Sunnyside House in Kingsbury Episcopi

Rank, service number and regiment

Private 15301 8th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry

Enlisted

Precise date unknown. We do know that Sidney sailed to Le Havre, France on 6 October 1915.

Home address

Possibly Sunnyside House in Silver Street, K.E. or one of the cottages to the west of the house. Documents suggest that the Reeds owned the plot of land behind Sunnyside in the early 20th century – and a Reed was living in Sunnyside in the 1940s.

Date of death

1 July 1916

Age of death

29 years

Circumstances of death

The 8th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry was at the opening of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916. Sidney died on this first day of the battle. The Battalion Diaries show clearly that the Allies’ opening barrage which was to have knocked out German strongholds, armaments and trenches had not worked.
The Germans had dug themselves in since 1914 with heavy concrete bunkers and strongholds that the opening barrage did not touch. The first soldiers out of the trenches at 7.30 am on 1 July were met with heavy machine-gun fire. Battalion diaries record that: ‘officers and men were being hit and falling everywhere but the advance went steadily on’.
A Brigade Major who witnessed it reported it as ‘magnificent’. The leading platoon lost 50% of its men going across ‘no man’s land’ which was subject to heavy enemy artillery fire.

Where buried

Gordon Dump Cemetery, Ovilliers la Boisselle, Somme, France. This was a concentration cemetery where, after the armistice, graves were brought in from all over the surrounding battlefields. This cemetery has 623 identified burials and 1,053 unidentified burials where the headstone says : ’Known Only Unto God’.

Date of birth & full name

1887, East Lambrook. SIDNEY GEORGE REED

Occupation

In the 1911 census – Butcher’s Labourer

Parents

George Reed 1855 – 1923 and Emily Reed (nee Morris) 1854 – 1922. George was a willow-bed labourer. They were married at St. Martin’s Church, 16th November 1880.

Spouse & children

Sidney was unmarried

Awards

1914/15 Star, the British War Medal, the Victory Medal.

Other information

Sidney was brother to Ernest Reed who was killed in action on 2 October 1916 and a cousin of Henry James Lovell Reed who died 24 August 1917. They all lived in Kingsbury Episcopi.
Sidney’s siblings in 1911:
Bessie – aged 28 yrs
Ernest – aged 27 yrs
Sidney – aged 24 yrs
Harry – aged 20 yrs
Following the Armistice, correspondence with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission was conducted with Bessie Barrett (nee Reed) Sidney’s older sister, who married Fred Barrett in 1920.
The photo below shows Sunnyside in the early 20th century, when J. Jeanes Ironmonger, Grocer and Draper was still in existence. You can see the Lock up, with two posters on its walls, and St.Martin’s Church in the right background. There were also cottages running alongside the shop. The shop and cottages burned down sometime in the 20th century.

The photo above, next to the cap badge, shows the site today. The garage with the house set back to it’s left, was where the shop J. Jeanes once stood. The house with the railings, Sunnyside, survived the fire and still stands today.

Sunnyside in Kingsbury Episcopi