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  • Photograph was published in the Hucknall Dispatch on 21st June 1917 and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
Hucknall Torkard Nottinghamshire
Sidney Radford was born in 1895 at Hucknall and was the son of David a coal miner and Emma Radford née Mellows of 39 Victoria Road, Hucknall. His father David was born in 1867 at Ashby de la Zouch, Leicestershire his mother Emma Mellows was born in 1871 at Hucknall, they were married in 1889 their marriage was recorded in the Basford registration district, they went on to have the following children, George 1892, Sidney b1895, David b1897, Mary Lizzie b1899, Beatrice Emma b1904, Joseph Edmond b1907 and Roland Percy Radford b1910, all were born in Hucknall In the 1911 census the family lived at 39 Victoria Street Hucknall Torkard Nottinghamshire and were shown as David 44 yrs a coal miner roadman, he is living with his wife Emma 40 yrs and their children George 19 yrs a coal miner, Sidney 16 yrs a coal miner, David 14 yrs a coal miner pony driver, Mary Lizzie 12 yrs a schoalr, Beatrice Emma 7 yrs a scholar, Joseph Edmond 4 yrs and Roland Percy 1 year of age.
He was a colliery haulier below ground.
30 Sep 1916
576601 - CWGC Website
6th Bn Lincolnshire Regiment
Private Sidney Radford enlisted at Hucknall and served with the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, he was killed in action on 30th September 1916 and is buried in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery grave reference XVIIIA.E.13
On 19th June 1917 L/Cpl. (Alfred) Basil Crabtree, 6th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment, visited the parents of Sydney Radford (pictured), at 39 Victoria Street, Hucknall man who had been killed the previous September. The former Bestwood Colliery miner had survived the Gallipoli campaign but not the Battle of the Somme. By making the visit Crabtree fulfilled his promise Radford’s parents, promising to do so if he was able. The son of the editor of the ‘Lincolnshire Free Press,’ Crabtree, was recuperating from wounds at the time of his visit. He was later commissioned into the Essex Regiment (on 30th April 1918). “A SOLDIER’S VISIT. “One of the results of the war is the creation of friendship, which death only will sever. An instance of this has been furnished this week by the visit to Hucknall of a soldier who had previously no knowledge of the town or its people, but he was drawn hither through an attachment with a local lad – since “gone west”, which was kindled in France. “Doubtless many of our readers will recall that at the time Private Sydney Radford made the greatest sacrifice it was possible to make a most comforting panegyric of the deceased was written by a fellow soldier – Lance Corporal Basil Crabtree and inserted in our columns. He then intimated that if ever it should be his good fortune to return to England he would pay a visit to the parents of the lad whom he had learned to esteem. “Since then much has happened in the battle line, and it was the lot of L.c. Crabtree to be wounded by the enemy some time ago. He has been in a London hospital and only recently turned out as in the convalescent stage. Still, the soldier has been as good as his word, and on Tuesday [19th June 1917] paid a visit to Hucknall, returning the following day when he proceeded to his home in Spalding. “We need hardly say how grateful Mr. and Mrs. [David and Emma] Radford are for the kindly thought which prompted L.c. Crabtree to visit them as a former chum of their late son, concerning whose exemplary life and honoured death they were able to learn further details. The soldier has also the thanks of other members of the family for his kindly remembrance of them, and we may say that during his visit he was entertained by Mr. G. Gent, who arranged a visit down Linby pit and as much sightseeing as the limited space allowed. The Editor of this paper was glad to meet L.c. Crabtree, who in civil life was connected with newspaper work.” [1] Crabtree’s letter informing David and Emma Radford of the death of their son is transcribed below. It is notable for many things, including a contemporary reference to ‘shell shock’. “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Radford, “I am very sorry to have to tell you that Sydney has paid the great sacrifice and laid down his life in his country’s sake. We had been called up to reinforce a battalion in the front line that had suffered heavy losses, and we had scarcely been there half an hour before a shell burst within a few feet of where Sydney was standing, and the poor lad was hit in the right shoulder and right groin, and was killed instantaneously. Two more were wounded and two more temporarily had shell shock. One, who was unhurt, went to Sydney’s assistance immediately but he was beyond human aid. We have at least one small consolation, Sydney could have felt no pain. The team that came to relieve them suffered similar casualties that same night. “Sydney was not with us, his own team, at the time but had gone to make up for a casualty in the other team in our company. He had been left behind as one of our reserve men but, unfortunately, both of those placed in reserve to C Company’s other team had gone into hospital. “Sydney joined them in the reserve trenches last Thursday, September 28th, evening. He came and sat by me for half an hour. He told me it was awful where he had been, so he did not mind coming up. He was quite cheerful, and was looking forward to a rest. He told me what was happening down there, and was quite enthusiastic over the success we had been having. I saw him again at dinner time on Friday, he was laughing as usual despite the wretched weather, and afterwards we went straight up the line into a trench which I believe had been the firing line that very morning. They were told by the gun team whom they relieved that shells used to drop all around there, but never at their post: the Germans could not find them there, so they would be safe enough. But they had scarcely been gone five minutes before a shell did come, right into the side of the trench in which Sydney was standing. “Up to the very last moment, Sydney had been bright and cheerful, regardless of all danger. He and I had been together a great deal since we joined the gunners, and he was a great help to us in all ways, in the trenches so cool, fearless and sensible: out of the trenches, the life and soul of our little party. “Sydney was not only a good soldier of the king but a good soldier of the King of kings, he was a good man. He always spoke his mind, no matter whom to, or what about, and without the slightest exaggeration, he was the most outspoken Christian I have ever met. We had both joined the regular section of the Lewis Gunners at the same time, and we happened to be put in the same team; and it was a remark he made the very first night we were together about the Bible, just as naturally and freely as though it were a remark about the weather to a strange party of soldiers that first drew my attention to him. “That was Sydney Radford through and through. Christianity came so naturally to him. Very high-spirited and always full of fun, he yet had his serious side, and I soon found that under a comparatively tough exterior he was as true as steel and had a heart of gold. What he saw in me I really don’t know, but somehow we became strongly attached to each other, and our two and a half months’ friendship was by the pleasantest time I have ever spent in the Army. We often spoke of our homes, and of our friends at home, and planned many jolly times together when the war is over. But, now, all that is over. Now he is in a better place than we, and I shall have to alter strangely if I am to be with him again. I was hoping he could change me, and I think he could have done. I was talking to him on the subject the very last morning we were together. I often wonder now why God called him and spared me. I think it ought to have been the other way. Would to God that it had. “I have many friends at home, and good ones too, but I have never had one to equal Sydney, never. I only knew him a few short months, but I feel his leaving as more than I can say. Please let me express my deepest sympathy with you: and the lads in our team have asked me to tell you how sorry they all are, and how badly they miss him now. I can realise to some extent what you, his mother and father, and his sister and Miss Vickers, must feel at his being called home, and I am very sorry. May God help and comfort you. Aye, how fond the lad was of his mother. It was a pleasure to listen to his praises of her and “our Tess.” In fact, of every one of you, so that I feel I know all of you now, although I have never yet seen you. I should like to know you in reality, should I ever have the chance. “Sydney was a sticker to his duty, and even when he was absolutely knocked up he did not complain. Yes, he was a plucky lad and no mistake. “On Saturday afternoon I buried Sydney’s mortal remains by the side of the trench, close to the post where he died; and we made a little wooden cross, which I placed upon his grave. It was a poor little thing but the best we could do under the circumstances. Should I be spared. and the lowly little monument be left untouched, I shall do my best to erect a grander one, once peace is declared. Whether my hopes will ever be realised I do not know, but God grant it may. We wrote upon it, “Private S. Radford, 6th Lincs. Regiment. Killed in action September 29th, 1916. R.I.P.” In the centre we nailed one of those beautiful texts you had sent him. It was one from Mark xi, 22 that rang out, aye, and still rings out in Sydney’s life and character. “Have faith in God.” These four words I shall remember to my dying day, whether that be near or far. When I think of them I can see Sydney, cannot you? Don’t think of him as dead but living up above the bright blue sky. His spirit is still alive, even though it has left his body, and so dear friends, may I call you such, don’t be too dispirited and downhearted. Don’t lose heart, but try and thank God that Sydney is now away from all harm and trouble, and in a far happier place than this world can ever be. “If there is anything else you would like explaining, or if there is anything whatever I can do for you now or at any time, please write and let me know, and I will do it, and do it gladly if I possibly can for dear Sydney’s sake. I am yours very sincerely, “BASIL CRABTREE.” [2] The Commonwealth War Graves Commission give the date of death as 30th September 1916. Sydney Radford is buried in Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, France. He was 22 years old. [1] ‘Hucknall Dispatch,’ 21st June 1917. [2] ‘Hucknall Dispatch,’ 2nd November 1916. Above information is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on


  • Photograph was published in the Hucknall Dispatch on 21st June 1917 and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Sidney Radford - Photograph was published in the Hucknall Dispatch on 21st June 1917 and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918