Research by Brian Bouchard
Private G/60345 S. C. Button, 4th Bn. Middlesex Regiment
formerly 112035 Royal Engineers
Died 22/08/1918, aged 20
Charles Sidney, known to the family as Sidney, was a son of Susan/Susannah Sarah Oclee (christened in Bromley 20 October 1867), second wife of Charles Frederick Button ( born in Brissett otherwise Great Bricett, Suffolk.). He was registered at birth in Bromley District, for the December Quarter of 1898. The 1911 census shows his parents Charles and Susanna living at Brickfield Cottage, Capel in Surrey with Charles Sidney and five younger siblings. Whilst resident at Capel, Charles enlisted at Aldershot for War Service. By the end of WW1, his family had relocated to Ashtead to live at 3 Alma Villas, Hatfield Road.
On 8 July 1916, the 4th battalion, Middlesex Regiment transferred with 63rd Brigade to 37th Division. The battalion took part in most of the major offensives and battles on the Western Front until the end of the war, including, as part of IV Corps, the third battle of Albert 21-23 August 1918, launched on a front of about nine miles north of the Ancre from Miraumont to Moyenville.
At 4.55am on the densely foggy morning of Wednesday 21 August, infantry of five divisions advanced on a seven mile front in the wake of a precise creeping barrage, completely surprising the enemy. VI Corps gained its first objective (the Moyenneville-Ablainzeville spur) by 5.40am; on the right, IV Corps, facing stiffer resistance, took its first objective twenty minutes later. Field Marshal Julian Byng, 1st Viscount Byng of Vimy, and Commander of the Canadian Corps at Vimy Ridge, decided to pause the attack on Thursday 22 August to allow his forces to regroup; a series of German counter attacks were beaten off during that intensely hot summer’s day.
Evidently Sidney was a casualty of that engagement with many of his comrades. By the night of 23 August, the 4th Battalion had reached a point 500 yards east of the Arras – Bapaume railway line, east of Achiet le Grand.
He is commemorated at Gommecourt British Cemetery no 2, Hebuterne near Arras. This cemetery was formed in 1917 and was initially used to bury those that had been killed in 1916. In the summer of 1918 the village of Gommecourt became almost the front line and after the armistice bodies from the surrounding area were interred in this cemetery.
Commemorated at Ashtead, Sidney Charles Button is also named on the War Memorial at St John the Baptist, Capel.