Sidney Swaine, Private 39548, 42nd Bn. Machine Gun Corps
Died of wounds 12th April 1918 at No 14 General Hospital, Wimereux, France, aged 23
Sidney Swaine was born on 10 March and baptised on 22 December 1895 at St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield, the son of Elizabeth Ann and John Thomas Swaine, innkeeper of the Wheatsheaf Inn, Stanley Street, Macclesfield.
By 1901, the family had moved to Rochdale, and six-year-old Sidney was living at 65 Whitehall Street, Rochdale with his parents and siblings Arthur (19), Florence May (17), Alfred (16), Beatrice (12), Ada (11), and John Fred (10).
In 1914 Sidney enlisted at Rochdale in the 6th Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers with service number 9627, and was drafted overseas to Egypt on 5 November 1914, serving in Egypt and Gallipoli. In August 1916 Sidney was transferred to the Machine Gun Corps, and on 28 June 1917 he was drafted to France.
On 29 October 1917, Sidney was treated for inflammation of connective tissue in his right knee, first at the Corps Main Dressing Station and then at the 139th Field Ambulance, which at that time was located on the coast between Dunkirk and Nieuport. The admission/discharge register for the 139th Field Ambulance also includes a reference to the 27th Field Ambulance which was near Ypres in October 1917.
Sidney was wounded by a gunshot wound to the scalp in 1918 and sent to No. 14 General Military Hospital at Wimereux, just north of Boulogne, where he died from his injuries on 12 April 1918. His parents were present at his death and also attended his funeral.
No 14 General Hospital, Wimereux, is thought to have been located in two hotels: the Hotel Splendide and The Casino. These were demolished during WWII and in their place now stands marine research buildings for the University of Lille. A photograph and account of life at the hospital during 1915 (when it was mainly used for treating officers) can be found on the Scarlet Finders website.
Private Sidney Swaine is buried at Wimereux Communal Cemetery, France, in grave ref. X. C. 6A. His father paid for the inscription “HE DID HIS DUTY” to be added to the headstone. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Sidney Swaine, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
Private Sidney Swaine is not known to be commemorated on any local war memorials.
Brother of John Fred Swaine, who served as Corporal 71196 with the Royal Field Artillery and was killed in France & Flanders on 28 September 1917, aged 25; and Arthur Swaine, who served as Private 9335 with the 6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers and was killed in action at Gallipoli on 15 May 1915, aged 33.
With thanks to Cath for the additional family information.
Cheshire Parish Baptism Registers (Find My Past): St Michael’s Church, Macclesfield
Census (England & Wales): 1901
MH106: WWI Representative Selection of Military Hospitals Admissions and Discharge Registers (Forces War Records): MH106/179 First World War Representative Medical Records of Servicemen from 139th Field Ambulance
WWI British Army Medal Rolls Index Cards (Ancestry)
WWI British Army Service Records 1914-1920
Soldiers Died in the Great War (Find My Past)
Commonwealth War Graves Commission website
Lives of the First World War website