Sidney Newman

Confusingly there are three men of the name of Sidney (or Sydney) Newman recorded in the 1911 Census for this parish. Two are father and son and they are the father and younger brother respectively, of William James Newman who died in the Great War and was buried in the graveyard at the former Church of the Good Shepherd at Iping Marsh. Both of these survived the war and indeed the elder Sydney Newman died at the age of 90 in 1958 still living in the parish and was buried in the churchyard. His son, Sydney was born in 1901 and was thus probably too young to have fought and his name can also be traced in later records.

The third Sidney Newman was a more plausible candidate for the Memorial since he did fight in the conflict and his war service is fairly clear, but he too survived the war.

As can be imagined there are many men of this name who died during the War but it has not proved possible to find any link between any of them and this comparatively obscure and rural parish. It is also possible that the War Memorial has an error in the name and that it had been intended that William James Newman’s name should appear and not that of his father who perhaps subscribed to the memorial.

As a typical record therefore of a survivor of the war, the following details are appended of the third Sidney Newman mentioned above, since these details were discovered as a result of research undertaken for this project.

 

Private Sydney Newman M.M.

Regiment: Sussex Regiment 11th/12th Battalion
Service No: G/19621
Date and place of birth: 3rd quarter 1892 Midhurst registration district, West Sussex
Date and place of death unknown.

Sydney Newman was born and raised in the Iping area, the son of a gardener. He joined the Sussex Regiment and was awarded the Military Medal during his war service.  He survived the War but he lost his first wife in childbirth in 1919 and only re-married some years later. Details of his death have not been traced.

Family background

Sydney Newman was born in the third quarter of 1892 and his birth was recorded in the Midhurst registration district. According to later census reports he was actually born in the hamlet of Tentworth near Stedham, the neighbouring parish to Iping, which was where the family lived in 1901 and 1911. He was the younger son of James Newman, a domestic gardener, and his wife Blanche. By 1911, Sydney was working as an under-gardener and he was still a domestic gardener at the time of his marriage in 1915 to Constance Ella Stacey, a formerly local girl who was living in London at the time of her marriage. They were married in the Iping and Milland Mission Hall when the groom was 22 years old. He had clearly not joined the army by this date.

Military career

At some point Sydney Newman joined up or was conscripted and variously served with the 11th and 12th Service Battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment. He is also listed with the 4th Royal West Kent Regiment. At the end of September 1917, a newspaper notice states that he was awarded the Military Medal “for his gallantry in carrying despatches under heavy shell fire” and this was gazetted on 28 January 1918. The 11th and 12th Battalions were stationed on the Ypres Salient at this time and they suffered heavy losses in the area close to Passchendaele. The 11th Battalion moved from the Ypres Salient in January 1918 where they had been stationed for over a year and were allowed time to rest and reform before again being involved in fighting during the German spring offensive.

It is not known when Sydney Newman left this unit since it underwent significant reconstruction during 1918. However the new unit was eventually sent to Northern Russia and landed at Murmansk at the end of September 1918. Little fighting was seen but the extreme cold of the Russian winter had to be endured before the unit was brought back to England in summer 1919.

Subsequent events

It is unlikely that Sydney Newman had to endure the Russian winter since on Boxing Day 1919 he suffered the death of his wife in childbirth. It seems likely that the child survived since the records show the birth of Constance J. Newman (mother’s name Stacey) in December 1919.

In November 1926, Sydney Newman, a widower, married Mary Jane Boniface in the church at Iping Marsh but after that details are scanty. There is a marriage recorded in the third quarter of 1940 in Midhurst between Constance J. Newman and one John H. Johnson which indicates that the family still lived locally, but there is no local record of the death of Sydney Newman.

Midhurst U3A WW1 War Memorial Project