Sydney Cecil SHERWIN


SHERWIN, Sydney Cecil

Service Number: 979
Enlisted: 23 March 1915, Light Horse 6 months
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 23rd Infantry Battalion
Born: Boomanoomana Station, Mulwala, New South Wales, Australia, March 1897
Home Town: Corowa, Corowa Shire, New South Wales
Schooling: Hopefield Public School, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation: Grainer
Died: Killed In Action, France , 4 August 1916
Cemetery: Pozières British Cemetery
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Corowa War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

23 Mar 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 979, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Light Horse 6 months
10 May 1915: Involvement Private, SN 979, 23rd Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières
10 May 1915: Embarked Private, SN 979, 23rd Infantry Battalion, HMAT Euripides, Melbourne

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

From François Berthout

Pte 979 Sydney Cecil Sherwin,
23rd Australian Infantry Battalion, C Company,
6th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division
In the fields of the Somme, grow in red petals that bloom under the sun, millions of poppies, silent witnesses and eternal symbols of the Remembrance of a whole generation of men who here, side by side, in the most beautiful spirit of unity and comradeship, served, fought and fell and who, for their country, for Australia and France did their duty with bravery alongside their brothers in arms on the battlefields and who today, in silence, rest in peace under their white graves behind which they stand proudly. They were young and gave their lives and with honor, with care and love, we will take care of their memory, we will keep their stories strong and alive so that their names live forever and the sun never ceases to shine on them.

Today, it is with the greatest respect and gratitude that I would like to honor the memory of one of these young men, one of my boys of the Somme who gave his youth, his today and his life for our tomorrow. I would like to pay a very respectful tribute to Private number 979 Sydney Cecil Sherwin who fought in the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion, C Company, 6th Brigade, 2nd Australian Division, and who was killed in action 105 years ago, on August 4, 1916 at the age of 20 on the Somme front.

Sydney Cecil Sherwin was born in 1896 in Boomanoomana Station, Mulwala, New South Wales, and was the son of William and Edith Selina Sherwin, of Handley Station, Albury, New South Wales. Sydney was educated at Hopefield Public School, New South Wales and before the outbreak of the war, worked as a grainer and lived in Oakleigh, Corowa, New South Wales.

Sydney enlisted at the age of 18 in Rutherglen, Victoria on March 23, 1915 in the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion, C Company, and after a two month training period, he embarked with his unit from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A14 Euripides on May 10, 1915 and sailed to join the MEF (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) in Gallipoli.

On August 30, 1915, Sydney was disembarked to Gallipoli where the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion was soon manning one of the most trying parts of the Anzac front line, Lone Pine. The fighting here was so dangerous and exhausting that battalions were relieved every day. The 23rd manned Lone Pine, alternating with the 24th Battalion.Sydney and the men of the 23rd Battalion fought with great courage in Gallipoli from where they were evacuated in early December and sent to Egypt on board Minnewaska.

On January 10, 1916, Sydney arrived in Egypt and was disembarked in Alexandria and on January 14, was admitted to the 6th Field Ambulance in Tel-El-Kebir suffering from mumps then on January 15 was transferred to the 4th Auxiliary Hospital in Abbassia then admitted at the 4th Auxiliary Hospital in Ghezireh on February 4. A month later, on March 6, 1916, after recovering, Sydney was sent to Moascar Camp and joined the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion on March 8,then on March 19, joined the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in Alexandria from where he embarked on board Lake Michigan and proceeded overseas for France.

On March 26, 1916, Sydney arrived in France and was disembarked in Marseilles then in April fought in the sector of Armentieres, a relatively calm sector but four months later, on July 23, 1916, he was sent to the Somme, in the horrific battles of Pozieres which was the first engagement but also the deadliest of the AIF in the Somme.Unfortunately, it was in Pozieres, on August 4, 1916 that Sydney met his fate.

On the night of August 4, 1916, during a counter attack on the heights of Pozieres, the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion attacked on no man's land with great courage and while Sydney found himself a few meters from a German trench, he was hit in the knee.Wounded and conscious, a stretcher bearer arrived to rescue Sydney from this hell but unfortunately a shell hit the two men who were blew in pieces and killed instantly, Sydney was 20 years Pozieres, it is estimated that 90 percent of the men of the 23rd Australian Infantry Battalion were wiped out, many of whom were never found.

Today, Sydney Cecil Sherwin rests in peace alongside his friends, comrades and brothers in arms at Pozieres British Cemetery, Somme.

Sydney, it is with a heart full of gratitude and respect for you that I wish to write to you these few words to thank you for all that you have done for all of us, for the Australia you have served with honor and for France for which, alongside so many other young men as brave as you, you gave your life. For us who have the chance to live our youth without fearing the next day in the peace and freedom for which you fought and for which you fell, we owe you so much, we will never forget what you and so many other young men gave for us, we will never forget all that you went through in these fields of the Somme today peaceful on which flowed so much blood and on which on which were mown down so many young boys who wanted to live and who had as only youth the horrors of the battlefield, death and desolation.Men who, with courage and conviction, for their nation, did not hesitate for a single moment to answer the call to duty, some even hid their true age to join their comrades, to be alongside their friends, to do their duty and to do their part in this great war by being all united under the flag and the colors which they all wore with pride, they knew despite the ardor of their youth that many of them would not return from the front and would not see again their loved ones, it is with tears in their eyes that they left their homes but with hearts filled with pride that they walked alongside their brothers, all united under the same uniform to fight for the same causes, united by their friendship and their mateship, by the love of their country, they moved forward on the roads of the north of France with on their faces, their smiles, their hearts filled with hope.They walked without stopping, their steps led by an invincible faith and soon reached the trenches in which, for four years, they fought bravely in mud and blood, among rats and lice, with almost nothing to eat or to drink, they held their positions with the greatest determinations which kept them strong and united through this hell on earth, through the storms of shells which flew and fell incessantly and which pulverized, in gigantic explosions, hundreds of men who were buried alive under the dismal roar of artillery.Brave among the bravest they lived what none of them could imagine in the bloodbaths of the battles and assaults through which they were almost all stopped by the murderous fire of the machine guns which poured out on these young men rains of bullets.They lived day after day by the side of death and saw their best friends, their brothers, their fathers who fell, men who were more than comrades, they were family and looked after each other, took care of each other.They shared the sufferings, tears and doubts but always kept their sense of humor and despite the death that struck them, they never lost their smiles, they showed their courage, their humanity in a war that had nothing left. human and which forced millions of men to kill each other in melee attacks, blood flowing on bayonets, friends and enemies shared in death the same shell holes alongside horses, innocent victims of a world gone mad.United in life, it is together that they went over the top and followed their officers, their friends,men above all who had dreams, hopes that were shattered through the poppies of the Somme but these hopes that gave them the strength to move forward are today more alive and strong than ever, they live in us, in our hearts, they are a precious heritage that we will always protect with love just like the memory of these men, of my boys of the Somme for whom I would give my life and my heart, my energy and my entire dedication so that they would never be forgotten, so that they are more than names on the stone of their graves but men who had a life and whom I want to tell and share so that they never cease to live.Thank you so much Sydney,for everything.At the going down of the sun and in the morning,we will remember him,we will remember them.