Watkins, Sidney George (1890-1917)

Sidney George Watkins was born in Strood, Rochester in the spring of 1890. Sidney first appears in the 1891 census aged 1, living in Wykeham Street, Strood with his father William Joseph Watkins (42) a cement worker, his mother Eliza (42) with his older siblings William (8), Bertha (6), John (4) and Frederick (2). A cousin Lily Sullivan aged twelve is also listed at the property although she may have been visiting. Sidney’s parents were both born in Frindsbury, all the children were born in Strood save the eldest who was born in Upnor.

By the time of 1911 census the family had moved to 111 Frindsbury Road, Frindsbury. Bertha had married Thomas Blair, a blacksmith in the Royal Navy. The two elder sons, William and John were naval ordinance labourers, however Sidney, his parents and third brother Frederick appear to be trading ‘at home’ within their own business as ‘fishmonger dealers’.

During the First World War Sidney enlisted, in Rochester, into the Machine Gun Corps. He served in the Infantry as a Private in the 75th Machine Gun Company, his Regimental Number 90421. The 75th Machine Gun Company Joined the 25th Division and fought in the Western European theatre of war in which Sidney was killed in action in the Battles of Ypres on September 9th 1917, aged 27. Sidney’s memorial inscription is located at Chatham Dockyard Memorial and his burial place is Tyne Cot memorial, Belgium.

Sidney was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

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