Private Abraham SIGLEY


Regiment/Service:
Sherwood Foresters
(Notts and Derby Regiment)
Unit:
1st Battalion
Service Number:
21798
Date of Death:
5 March 1918 - Died (France)
Age:
27
Cemetery / Memorial:
Cemetery Reference:
IV. F. 60.


Personal History:

Abraham was born in the September quarter 1890, the son of Joseph (Quarryman) and Ann (née Hadfield) Sigley of Tom Thorn, Fairfield, Buxton. He had an older brother, William. (1891 Census RG 12/2779) The family were at the same address in 1901 (Census RG 13/3269) and Abraham had 6 more younger siblings, James, Moses, George, Mary Ann and Emma.
Ten years later (1911 Census RG 14/21235) another brother, Joseph, had been added to the family, which was now living in Batham Gate, Buxton, and Abraham was employed as a "Lime Burner".

Military History:
Abraham enlisted in the 1st Battalion in Buxton. His Medal Index Card indicates that he entered the War in France on the 27th August 1915 but unfortunately his Service Papers have not survived. [A comparison of his Service Number with other Foresters' records would indicate that he enlisted on or about the 9th January 1915.]

The 1st Battalion, The Sherwood Foresters were in Bombay, India when war broke out in August 1914. They returned to England, landing at Plymouth on the 2nd October 1914 and joined 24th Brigade, 8th Division at Hursley Park, Winchester. It landed in France at Le Havre on the 5th November a much needed reinforcement to the BEF.

In 1915 The Battalion saw action at The Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10th March - 22nd April), The Battle of Aubers (9th - 10th May) and the action of Bois Grenier, in August. On the 18th October 1915 24th Brigade transferred to 23rd Division to instruct the inexperienced troops.

After Abraham joined them, in March 1916 the 23rd Division took over the front line between Boyau de l'Ersatz and the Souchez River in the Carency sector from the French 17th Division, in an area exposed to heavy shelling. In mid April they withdrew to Bruay returning to the Carency sector in mid May just before the German attack on Vimy Ridge, in the sector to their right.

On the 15th June 1916 Abraham's 24th Brigade returned to 8th Division and his first major action would have been The Battle of Albert, 1st - 13th July 1916, part of the overall Battle of the Somme. 1916. In 1917 Abraham would have fought at The Third Battle of Ypres,  [Passchendaele] (31st July - 10th November), during The Battle of Pilckem Ridge, 31st July - 2nd August, and The Battle of Langemarck, 16th - 18th August.

However, neither the 8th Divisional history nor the 1st Sherwood Foresters History gives any information about events on the 5th March 1918. However, as Abraham's cause of death is recorded as "Died" - rather than "Died of wounds" etc. he could have succumbed to illness rather than combat injuries.

Just one other man of the 1st Battalion died in the first 10 days of March. Abraham now lies in Longuenesse Cemetery, near St Omer. The town was a major hospital centre with the 4th, 10th, 7th Canadian, 9th Canadian and New Zealand Stationary Hospitals, the 7th, 58th (Scottish) and 59th (Northern) General Hospitals located there, along with the 17th, 18th and 1st and 2nd Australian Casualty Clearing Stations, all located there at some time during the war.

Footnote:
· Abraham shares his grave with 21 year old Gunner 162250 Frances WILSON, 330th Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery,
  who died two days earlier.

Sources:
· I am grateful to Martin McNeela for checking the Histories
· ... and also to "The War Graves Photographic Project" for the photo of Abraham's grave
· "1st and 2nd Battalions the Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment) in the Great War" - H.C. Wylly
   (ISBN-10: 1845744241)

Link to CWGC Record
Longunesse Cemetery
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