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Sidney Keys

Sidney J Keys

Lance Corporal 35438 - Sherwood Foresters
Notts Derby Regiment 11th Battalion

Enlisted: Derby February 1916

Killed in Action 16th September 1917 : Aged 26

Tyne Cot Memorial - Panel 99 to 102

Huthwaite Online WW1 Remembrance

Lance Corporal 35438 Sidney J Keys was born 5th July 1891 in Kensworth. Native parents Luton registered marriage 17th June 1871, between Brickmaker Mr Charles Keys and Miss Emma Squires named six known children before fathers 1894 death aged 44. Mrs Emma Keys mothered Harry 1873, George 1875, Fred 1879, Nellie 1885, Minnie 1888, and Sidney 1891. Her remarriage registered Q3 1906 was to Mr George Dean. Its daughter Nellie who relates Huthwaite ties through earlier 16th April 1906 marriage with coal miner Mr Alfred Hughes, transferring his area working experience relocating them into Ashfield Road.

Mr Sidney Keys left mother Mrs Emma Dean with stepfathers household to share his sisters Huthwaite marital home. Census is confused by recent town boundary changes claiming Ashfield Road in Sutton headed 1911 by Mr Alfred Hughes 31. Wife Mrs Nellie Hughes 26, mothers Sydney 4 and Maurice 3, accommodating her younger brother Sydney Keys 19 working as Barman.

Pte Sydney Keys enlisted at Derby February 1916 joining the 11th Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment.   Active service in Flanders battlefields awards Military Medal June 1917, surely accounting for promoted rank.   Lance Corporal 35438 S Keys was ultimately killed in action by shell fire towards the Belgium front line 16th September 1917. Regimental or Memorial records can differ in spelling plus service number 25438. But leaving war gratuities to his named sister assures Sidney Keys was given Huthwaite roll of honour, as well as being found still fondly remembered on the Kensworth Methodist Church War Memorial.

Notts Free Press 5th October 1917

Huthwaite Hero's Death Military Medallist killed in Action. After being the recipient of the Military Medal as recently as June last, the news of his death in action has come as a great blow to the many friends of private S. Keys, 35438. B Company, 11th Sherwood Foresters, a well-known Huthwaite figure. He lived with his sister and brother-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Hughes, of Ashfield Street, Huthwaite, by whom the following letters have been received last Friday and Monday respectively:

Dear Mrs. Hughes,- It is with deep regret that I have to inform you of the death of Private S. Keys. He was in my platoon and was killed in the front line by shell fire on the 15th. His death was instantaneous and he suffered no pain. During the short period I knew him I always found him a good soldier, who did his duty well. He was buried next day, and I have lost a good man whose place will be very difficult to fill. I wish to express my sympathy with you and your family in this sad bereavement. These are all the details I can give you. - J. Greville, 2nd. Lieut.

It is with deep sympathy that I write to tell you that your brother, Private S. Keys, 35438, was killed in action on September 16th. and was buried by his battalion near where he fell. The place will be sent to you. He has died a hero, and I know that he is mourned by many pals. But "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." R.I.P.
  May I again offer to you and all his folk at home my sincere sympathy in your great bereavement.-
  Yours faithfully, J.K. Jones, (Chaplain C.E.).

Mansfield Recorder 5th October 1917

Private Keys was born at Kensworth, near Luton, and was 26 years old. He came to Huthwaite eight years ago and lived (as stated) with his married sister. He joined up in February, 1916, and being in a low medical class he was in England ten months, and was then put in class A. Three months later he was sent to France. In June he was awarded the Military Medal for remaining at his post, though wounded, and setting a good example to his comrades. His pre-war employment was as a barman, and by reason of his quiet unassuming disposition he had many friends, and the step-brother (Corporal W. Dean), of the Bedfords, has won the D.C.M., but lost his left arm and has had twelve months in hospitals.

23 Jul 06     by Gary Elliott       Updated 19 Jun 14