Source: October 1916 casualty.
Pte. Sidney Burton, 33d Oakwood avenue, who was killed in action Oct. 2nd, left Toronto just [x] months abo to the day with the 81st Battalion. Overseas he was transferred to another battalion, and was over three months in the trenches when killed. He is married and his widow and 4 boys live at the above address. He is a plasterer by trade and came out of London ten years ago. He is 33 years old. One brother, W.H. Burton, have been at the front for some months.
Pte. Burton is well known in England as a bicycle rider, and holds many prizes and medals.
For nearly three years Pte. Burton worked on the cement stonework of the new Knox College.
Toronto Star. October 25, 1916
Summary of Service for Private Sidney Burton, reg. no. 157097
|June 4, 1883||Born||London, England|
|1897||Arrives Canada||Private Burton was sent to Canada by the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society.[i]|
|September 13, 1915||Enlists||Enlisted in Toronto, Ontario with the 81st Battalion. He is married to Valentina Burton, residing at 332 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.|
|October 1915 to April 1916||81st Battalion||This battalion was raised and trained in Toronto and shipped overseas April 28, 1915.|
|April 1915||Assigns $20.00 per month pay to his wife.|
|April 28, 1916||Leaves for England||Via the S.S. Olympic, leaving Halifax.|
|May 1, 1916||Embarks Halifax|
|May 6, 1916||Debarks Liverpool|
|May 6 to June 24, 1916||Sandling Camps||Located near Folkestone, Kent, the Sandling Camps (East and West) were a major training base for units before they were transferred from their reinforcing battalions to active service on the Continent.|
|June 24, 1916||Transferred to 18th Battalion||Still in West Sandling, Kent.|
|June 29, 1916||Proceeds to France||Arrives at the Canadian Base Depot, Etaples, France and officially TOS (taken on strength) with the 18th Battalion.|
|July 12, 1916||Proceeds to join unit.|
|July 14, 1916||Joins 18th Battalion in the field.||Joins unit at Quebec Camp in the Ypres Sector. The War Diary makes no mention of any replacement arriving on that date but on July 13, 1916 100 o.r.s. (other ranks) arrived as replacements. It may be that the processing of the replacements was not finalized until the 14th.
The Battalion had been resting and training from July 5 – 15 and Private Burton arrived only 1 to 2 days before the Battalion was assigned to active duty in the trenches.
|October 2, 1916||“Killed in Action”||The Circumstances of Death Register card gives no other information than this and this description was quite common.
On October 1, 1916, the 18th Battalion relieved the 21st Battalion at Courcelette, the Somme. The Battalion, and Private Sidney had suffered the Canadian attack on Flers-Courcelette September 15, 1916 where many members of the 18th Battalion perished.
Regrettably, the 18th Battalion War Diary is bereft of specific detail about the events from September 1916 to December 1916, in part, because of the high level of activity and casualties made keeping the war diary accurate and up-to-date difficult.
What is known is that the Battalion went back into the line on October 1, 1916 and on October 2, 1916 advanced 500 yards and held the positions taken. No mention of casualties was made by the 18th Battalion Diary or the 4th Canadian Infantry Brigade Diary for that date.
|January 4, 1917||Promoted to Sergeant||This promotion is notated on his assigned pay document and subsequently cancelled due to his death due to active service. This is an unusual entry in that most privates stepped up in rank from private to lance-corporal, to corporal, then to lance-sergeant, and then to sergeant.|
|June 17, 1920||Interned Courcelette British Cemetery, Somme, France. Plot I.F.5.||His headstone has the following inscription: “HE DIED FOR HIS COUNTRY AT THE CALL OF DUTY” and this inscription is attributed to Mrs. V. Burton, 375 Oakwood Avenue, Toronto, Ontario.|
|Forever||Remembered for his service and duty to country.|