Sunday, October 19, 2014

9866 Pte John Sidney Martin, 3rd Bn CEF

Chailey Parish Magazine notes in October 1914 that John Martin is serving his King and Country. This information is then repeated up to and including September 1915.

According to his surviving attestation papers, John Sidney Martin was born in Newick on 19th April 1894. It seems likely though, that he was actually born in 1895 as his birth was registered at Lewes district in the June quarter of that year. He appears on the 1901 census living at Church Road with his parents and seven siblings. The household comprised, William John Martin (head, aged 47; a self employed builder), his wife Adela Martin (aged 42) and their eight children. In age order they are: William Henry Martin (an 18 year old carpenter), Florence Kate Martin (aged 15), Mabel Grace Martin (aged 13), Edith Cicely Martin (aged 11), Alfred Geoffrey Martin (aged ten), John (aged five), Daisy Evaline Martin (aged four) and Horace Raymond Martin (aged two).

John and Horace certainly went to school in Newick (and it’s reasonable to assume that the other children, all born in Newick, did as well). Years later, when the two boys joined the army, they sent photos of themselves to their old headmaster, John Oldaker, and it is his notes that fill in  more information on John Martin. He wrote:

John Sidney Martin (1903-1909) Enlisted before the war, 10th Royal Grenadier Signalling Corps, 3d Battn, 1st Canadian Contingent. Went to France Feb 1915. Taken prisoner near Ypres, April 1915. Confined in Germany until the end of the war.

In actual fact, John's attestation papers record that he joined up at Valcartier, Canada on the 22nd September 1914 and that he was living in Toronto and working as a silversmith when he did so.

My thanks to Simon Stevens for supplying the information on John Martin from John Oldaker's album and also the photograph of John Martin, reproduced on this page.

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