An Old Coathamian – Not Forgotten


No. 2168 Private, 1/4th Battalion,
Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own (Yorkshire Regiment)
[later called The Green Howards].

Born 11 March 1891,
Died 14 February 1916, aged 24 years.

Buried in Railway Dugouts Burial Ground, Ypres,
West-Vlaanderen, Belgium,
Grave II.K.15.

He died the same day as his fellow Old Coathamian in the 1/4th Battalion, Serjeant James Foxton (q.v.). Both of the same age, they are buried in the same cemetery, in the same row, six graves apart. They are among the 2,459 soldiers buried or commemorated in this cemetery. As their battalion was a battalion of the Territorial Army they may well have been part-time soldiers before the War broke out.

Sydney Douglas was the son of John and Elizabeth Douglas of 7, Turner St., Coatham, although by 1916 his father, by then widowed for several years, lived at 4, Granville Terrace, Redcar. Sydney was the youngest of six children, having three sisters, Gertrude, Jeanette and Mabel and two brothers, George and Thomas. His father was a cashier, later manager, at a local ironworks. He paid the fees for Sydney and his two brothers each to attend Coatham Grammar School as day boys. Sydney himself started school in January 1903, two months short of his twelfth birthday, and stayed until Easter 1908, when he was 17. Sydney’s mother died later that year. He followed his father and older brothers into the steel industry, being, in 1911, an apprentice draughtsman and construction engineer.