Sergeant/Company Quartermaster Sergeant Sydney Kerton 15/548 and Private Herbert Kerton 15/547

Sergeant/Company Quartermaster Sergeant Sydney Kerton

Born. Leeds, 1883.
Killed In Action. 22nd May 1915, Aged 33.

Private Herbert Kerton 15/547

Born Leeds 1894

When the war broke out, Sydney Kerton, a master tailor and his brother Herbert were living with their parents George Henry (a tailor’s cutter) and Jane Ann Kerton at 26, Hall Grove, Hyde Park, Leeds. Sydney was running his own tailoring business from premises on Woodhouse Lane Leeds when the Pals battalion was raised. He immediately disposed of his business and joined the Pals on 4/9/1914.

Prior to the war he had served with the Leeds Rifles a Territorial Army battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. This would account for his immediate promotion to Sergeant then later Company Quartermaster Sergeant with D Company. His brother Harold joined the Pals on 3/4/1914 and after posting to 'B' Company, served with them throughout the war and survived. He was discharged in 1919.

In May of 1915, whilst on one weeks leave, Sydney married his fiancée Mabel at St Marks Church Woodhouse. He subsequently returned to his battalion, his wife residing with his parents.

Sergeant Kerton continued to serve with the Pals in Colsterdale, Egypt and France.

In the early evening of the 22nd of May 1916 while the Pals were on their second spell of trench duty in France, a wiring party with a covering detail was working out in 'no mans land' when they were discovered by a German raiding party. A fight ensued as the Germans tried to enter the Pals trenches. They were only driven off after Lieutenant Valantine Oland MC, had gathered together a bombing party, rallied the wiring party and counter-attacked, driving the Germans into the line of fire of a one of the Pals Lewis guns. (Oland’s Military Cross was awarded for this action) Later, when volunteers were searching out in no man’s land for wounded members of the wiring party, the German artillery opened up with shrapnel shells, killing and wounding many more men. This minor action cost the Pals, 15 killed (which included Jogendra Sen "the most educated man in the battalion"), 34 wounded (Sydney’s brother Herbert Kerton was one of the wounded) and another three missing. Amongst the dead was Sgt Sydney Kerton. When daylight came his body could be seen hanging on the barbed wire and his brother had to be physically restrained from going out to him until later the following evening.

Yorkshire Evening Post 25/5/1916:

"During the last few weeks Sgt Kerton’s wife has been busily preparing a home for her husband, who was expected home on a short furlough. She had taken a house at 6,Glossop Mount, Delph Lane, Woodhouse and had got it practically finished when she received news that her husband had fallen in action".

Sydney Kerton is buried in Sucrerie Military Cemetery, Colincamps, France.

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