Sydney George Collins

Service:                Army

Rank:                   Private

Service No:           22788

Unit:                     12th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

 

 Sydney was the eighth child of Henry & Caroline Collins who in 1891 were living at 117 Lawrence Hill at that time Henry was a basket maker in a chemical works. By 1911 the family had moved to 9 Charlston Street and Sydney now 23 years old was a machinist in tobacco manufactures.

The 12th (Service) Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment – better known locally as ‘Bristol’s Own’ was formed and trained in Bristol until June 1915 when it moved to Yorkshire then Salisbury Plain before landing in France on November 21st 1915.

In the spring of 1917 the 12th were fighting with division in the Arras area and relieved the Canadians who had taken Vimy Ridge. The Battle of Arras (also known as the Second Battle of Arras) was a British offensive. From 9 April to 16 May 1917, British, Canadian, South African, New Zealand, Newfoundland, and Australian troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front. There were major gains on the first day, followed by stalemate. The battle cost nearly 160,000 British casualties and about 125,000 German casualties. Sydney was killed in action on 22nd April 1917.

In October 1918 when it was unceremoniously disbanded 12th Battalion had fought in all the major battles in France and Flanders and also served in Italy in late 1917 and early 1918. It gained 22 Battle honours and lost one third of its original men.

Sydney has no known grave and is remembered with honour on the Arras Memorial Bay 6

Image by Doug Crew.

Sydney was entitled to the British War Medal & the Victory Medal.

 

References

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Soldiers Died in the Great War

Medal Index Card

1891,1901 & 1911 UK household census

The Long, Long Trail