Sydney Markham

sydney markham

Image © North Lincolnshire Museums, reproduced under under Creative Commons BY NC S

Corporal, 202009, 4th Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action, 15th April 1918, aged 22

Born at Amcotts in 1896, the younger brother of Arthur, Sydney was the fourth son of the eight children of Walter and Olive Markham (nee Cockin). His mother was from Adlingfleet and his father was from Luddington. When Sydney was born his father was a farm foreman and he later became a tenant farmer of a farm in Roxby.

Like his brother Sydney also worked on the family farm prior to joining the arm. His service record has not survived but he most likely attested around the same time as his brother and was mobilised at the same time in 1917. Family tradition has it that his parent’s were so disappointed in the farmer not reserving Arthur and his brother as ‘starred’ men that they left the farm to move to another in Grasby.

Following the German attack on the Lys in April 1918 the 4th Lincoln’s were one of the units moved to reinforce the area. On 14th April they were stationed near Locre moving at 5.30am the following morning to positions on Ravetsberg Ridge.

Around 12.00 noon a heavy artillery bombardment of the positions began, which was followed at around 2.45pm by a German infantry attack. The 4th Lincoln’s held their position for nearly two hours but by 4.30pm were forced to retire.  By 5.25pm their line was north of the Ravetsberg Road and along the railway cutting between Keersebrom and Hill 75.  A few minutes later, the enemy forced his way over the crest of the hill and broke through the Lincolns line.  Heavy hand to hand fighting ensued until the enemy was checked.  The night of the 15th/16th passed anxiously and orders to retire were received at about 2.30am on the 16th.

The losses to the 4th Lincoln’s at Ravetsberg were 313 men killed, wounded, or missing, among them Sydney Markham. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial.

Sydney is commemorated with his brother on the War Memorial at St Mary’s Church, Roxby. Fuller details of his lifestory are told on a touching tribute featured in the For King and Country exhibition produced by North Lincolnshire Museums and available to view here