Private Sidney Harold Kerswell

Service Army Service No. 3008
Rank Private
Regiment:Royal Fusillers, London Regiment, 3rd Battalion
Date of Birth: 1894
Born Dawlish
Date of Death: 14/10/1915
Memorial: Dawlish Memorial Inscription KERSWELL S.H. PTE. ROYAL FUS.

Service History

His medal record card show that he arrived in Egypt on 19th April 1915. Private Sidney Harold KERSWELL was with the London Regiment, 3rd (City of London) Battalion, (Royal Fusiliers).  On 31 December 1914 it left to relieve the 1/3rd Bn in Malta, and from there moved to Egypt, before landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli.

By October 1915 the tragic episode of the Gallipoli campaign was coming towards an end. The invasion of 25th April had taken place at a number of beaches from which it was hoped that the troops would be able to fight to the hilltops and overcome the Turkish forces, capturing the hill forts that controlled the passage through the Dardanelles to Constantinople. What actually occurred is that the allied forces were in some cases trapped on the beaches, and even when they managed to move inland and up the gullies to fight at higher levels, the beaches were still under fire from guns and snipers on still higher ground.

Sidney Harold Kerswell died aboard the Hospital Ship NEVASA en route to Malta. He had been wounded in action at Gallipoli.

Sidney Kerswell's memorial is in Malta where the hospital ship would have brought the survivors for treatment in better conditions. The eventual retreat from Gallipoli was conducted in January 1916 with, thankfully, very few further casualties.


Association with Dawlish

Sidney Harold Kerswell was a younger son of James Kerswell (1837-1908 ) and Frances/ Fanny Little Rickard (1857- ). They had eleven children (eight surviving by the 1911 census). The second oldest was James Edwin Kerswell (1879-1918) (see separate casualty record sheet).

Their father had been born in Crediton, became a seaman and he married Frances (Fanny) Little Rickard in Dromore West, Sligo, Ireland in 1875. Fanny was born in Looe, Cornwall.

Many of the children were born in Ireland where James may have been posted in the Coastguard Service. James was a Naval pensioner when he lived and died in Dawlish, on November 19, 1908.

By 1911 Fanny was a widow and living at 20 Hatcher Street and Sidney was 17 and an apprentice grocery worker, living at home with his mother, brother James Edwin and three sisters, Isabella, Edith and Olive Edna. He moved to London and was working in Chiswick when war broke out, and he joined up in November 1914.

Devon Roll of Honour Kerswell, Sidney Harold, Pte, R Fusiliers, 14th Oct 1915, Gallipoli
Additional Information Commonwealth War Graves Site

Next of Kin: Fanny Little Kerswell - mother
Last Known Address: 20 Hatcher Street, Dawlish

Royal Fusiliers' badge

H.M.Transport Ship NEVASA

Free Birth Marriage Death records

Dawlish Gazette extracts in collection of Dawlish Museum

Mons, Anzac & Kut by Aubrey Herbert (1919)

refs via subscription sites:

Census records

UK Soldiers died in the Great War 1914-1919

Medal rolls

Forces War Records

All Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index

Painter family tree-