Born in Tavistock in 1898, Sidney lived in Galpin Street, Modbury and was the only son of James B Kennard (RN Blacksmith) and Annie Kennard. He attended Modbury School from Oct 1903 to Apr 1906.
Enlisting in Plymouth, Sidney joined the Army and served as a Private in the 1-4th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment (Territorials). The 1/4th were sent to India and were stationed near Lahore.
At the end of 1915 he was based in Egypt as he received a parcel from Modbury following a Children’s Concert held on 10 Nov 1915. In the Parish magazine it was noted that parcels were sent to all the Modbury men on foreign service, numbering over thirty.
The sum of £2 has been spent on wool, which the girls of the Girl’s School are making into socks and mufflers, for use as required.
The contents of the parcels varied: all had a khaki handkerchief, boot laces, soap, oxo and matches. The older men had tobacco and cigarettes; the younger ones cigarettes and sweets or chocolates; candles and disinfecting powder for those in the trenches; cocoa or tablets; the blacksmiths a warm scarf as they write home complaining of the cold, and socks for some of the others.
One of the men asked whether we had been told what to send as the things were exactly those they needed most, and could not easily get. Everyone received a programme of the concert.
He sent a letter thanking the children for the parcel:
‘I received the parcel safely and I enjoyed the sweets very much. I wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year, and I hope by next Christmas this awful war will be over and I shall be able to spend it in Modbury. I expect Modbury is very quiet now that so many young men have answered their country’s call. This is a very old, interesting and strange country. The lower class of natives are very dirty and sleep about in the streets, or in half fallen down houses and they dress very much like women. The men do not do much work, so the women have to do it. A man marries several times so he has a lot of wives to keep. The country is very flat and dry, there has not been any rain here for three years. The shops are very funny and some are dirty and untidy. Their food is very different from ours – maize ground up very fine, dates and onions, tomatoes, peanuts, figs, turnips and sweet potatoes they eat a lot of. The great majority of them never wear any shoes or boots: their religion is also very different from ours, they always wash their feet before saying their prayers, and they pray every day at 12 o’clock in the street or anywhere else. There are a lot of Mosques, and also tombs which have been erected in memory of their Kings and great religious men. The Pyramids are wonderful, the largest is 448 feet high, and 448 feet wide, built of great granite stones and the puzzle is how they got the stones to the top. I will write again later and tell you more.’
He was then sent to Mesopotamia (now Iraq) in early 1916. They arrived on 28th February and moved up the Tigris to join the 14th Indian Division at Sheikh Saad a month later. Although shelled by the Turks, their most dangerous enemy was disease caused by the climate.
In the summer of 1916 400 men were admitted to hospital. On 3rd February 1917 the 1/4th Devons and 1/9th Gurkhas led a dazzlingly successful attack on the Hai Salient in the Turkish line south of Kut. Victory came at a price: of 15 officers and 403 men who attacked, only 5 officers and 186 men emerged unscathed. The survivors of the 1/4th spent the rest of the war in Amara and Baquba (north of Baghdad) building roads, guarding prisoners and administering refugee camps.
Sidney was killed on 3rd February 1917 at Mesopotamia aged 19 and is buried in Amara Cemetery, Iraq. His father was the first person from Modbury to be killed in the war when HMS Monmouth was sunk off Chile on 1st November 1914.
|Address:||Galpin St, Modbury|
|Next of Kin:||Son of James B Kennard and Annie Kennard|
|Unit||1-4th Bn, Devonhire Regt (Territorials)|
|Died On:||3rd February 1917|
|Where Buried:||Amara Cemetery, Iraq|
|Remarks||Modbury School Oct 1903-Apr 1906|