Private Sidney Arthur Fillery

Photograph courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for this research. 

Sidney Fillery Birth Register ©
Sidney Fillery Baptism Registration ©

Sidney (sometimes Sydney) Arthur Fillery was born on 6th November 1894 in Dorking, Surrey and was baptised on 11th January 1895 in Dorking at St. Martin’s Church. His mother was Harriet (nee Parker) and his father’s name was Percy. At the time of baptism the family lived at 26 Mill Lane, Dorking and Sidney’s father Percy worked as a house painter.

Harriet was born in the first quarter of 1873 in Dorking and was baptised on 25th April 1873 at St. Martins Church. Her parents were called William and Emma. Harriet’s father was a labourer and the family lived at Black Horse Yard in Dorking. Percy was born in the fourth quarter of 1872 in Dorking and he was baptised on 8th December 1872 in Dorking. Percy’s parents were called Isaac and Jane, both were also born in Dorking. Percy’s father was a brick layer. Harriet and Percy married on 15th July 1894 at St. Martin’s Church. At the time of marriage Percy lived at 24 Mill Lane Dorking and Harriet at 16 High Street Cottages, Dorking. Harriet was already pregnant at the time of marriage.

Sidney had three sisters: Edith Mary born on 20th February 1896, Beatrice Alice born on 24th April 1897 and Winifred Kate born in the third quarter of 1900, all in Dorking.

Sidney Fillery 1898 School Register
Sidney Fillery 1898 School Register

An admission book of Dorking British School reads that Sidney was admitted on 21st March 1898. According to the book, in 1898 Sidney’s family lived at 18 Church Gardens Dorking.

Sidney Fillery School Register 1901
Sidney Fillery 1901 Schools Register ©

Dorking British School admission book for the year of 1901 includes, apart from Sidney, also his sister Edith. Children were re-admitted to the school on 6th May 1901. According to the book they previously attended a small school in Falkland Road for infants. The family lived at 38, Orchard Road, Dorking. Sidney left Dorking British School on 1st August 1902 and was transferred to St Martin’s Church of England School.

Sidney Fillery 1901 Census

At the time of the 1901 Census the family lived at 38, Orchard Road, Dorking.

Sidney Fillery Schools Register 1902 ©
Sidney Fillery Schools Register 1902 ©
Sidney Fillery 1902 School Register ©
Sidney Fillery 1902 School Register ©

On the 1st of October 1902 Sidney was admitted to St Martin’s Church of England School. His sisters Edith and Beatrice followed. The family still lived at 38, Orchard Road, Dorking Surrey. Sidney was transferred from the school on the 20th of April 1903. According to the book it appears that Beatrice left on the 1st of May 1905 Dorking. She was likely sent to the St Peter Orphanage School in Broadstairs in Kent. She resided there at the time of the 1911 Census.

Sidney Fillery 1911 Census ©
Sidney Fillery 1911 Census ©

By the time of the 1911 Census Sidney lost his mother and his father Percy became a widower. Percy moved with his children to his parents’, Isaac and Jane, home at 24 Mill Lane, Dorking where he grew up. The house had seven rooms. Sidney was working as a tailor maker and his youngest sister Winifred – Winnie was still at school.

Military History of S. A. Fillery

Sidney Arthur Fillery was part of the 2/4th Battalion Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment of the British Territorial Force. His service number was T/2636 and his rank was Private. Fillery enlisted in Dorking. He was presumed dead on 9th August 1915. He was killed in action in Gallipoli at the Balkan theatre of war. He is commemorated at Helles Memorial, Gallipoli, Canakkale, Turkey. Fillery doesn’t have a known grave and is enlisted on panels 30 -31. Fillery received the Victory and British War Medals and the 1914-1915 Star. He was 21 years old.

Sidney Fillery Medal Roll ©
Sidney Fillery 1914 – 1915 Star Medal Roll ©

The 2nd/4th Battalion of the Queens (Royal West Surrey Regiment) was part of the British Territorial Force. The Battalion was formed in Croydon in August 1914 and then moved to Windsor to join the 2/ Surrey Brigade, 2/ Home Counties Division. On 24th April 1915 the Battalion moved to Cambridge as the part of 160th Brigade, 53rd Division. In July 1915 the Battalion mobilised for war and embarked to Gallipoli from Devonport in Plymouth. From 9th August they took part in various actions against the Turkish Army and after huge losses (the division was reduced to 15% of their full strength) due to combat casualties, disease and bad weather the Battalion was evacuated to Egypt on 19th December 1915.

For more information on the 2/4 Battalion, visit the Forces War Records.

The War Diary of the 2/4 Battalion of the Queens

On 17th July 1915 at 12.30 AM the Battalion boarded trains in Bedford for Devonport. At 8.00 PM on the same day the Battalion sailed on the HMT U[l]ysses to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in Gallipoli. On July 28th the ship docked in Alexandria, Egypt. From the 31st of July to the 4th of August the Battalion called at Port Said. Then they sailed to Mudros Harbour at which they arrived on the 7th of August 1915. On the 8th of August 1915 the ship reached Suvla Bay on Gallipoli peninsula.

The next day on the 9th of August 1915 at 2.30 AM, the soldiers left the ship on ‘C’ Beach. Sometime during this day only a few hours after disembarking, Private Fillery died.

At 5.30 AM the Battalion was ordered to entrench south west of Chocolate Hill (Hill 53). At 6.40 AM an urgent message sent them to the North West slope of Hill 53 to reinforce the 31th Brigade. At this time the Battalion suffered several casualties (shelling & rifle firing) while advancing across South-Southeast of Salt Lake. At 7.30 AM they arrived at Chocolate Hill and were ordered to join the 33th Brigade and advance round North spur of the Hill & thence East to support the Brigade which was under attack. A 9.00 AM the 2/4th joined the 6th Dublin Fusilier Battalion and advanced and occupied an old Turkish trench. 3 companies advanced at 7.30 AM by 600 yards to front on to Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill) but were driven back by their own shell fire in the rear. The second attempt to advance to Hill 70 took place at 8 AM and also failed due to heavy fire from own guns in rear and ablaze scrubs on the Hill. At this point the Battalion suffered heavy casualties (250 men). At 12 noon the Battalion retreated back to the Turkish Trench and held on there. During the night of the 9th to 10th August the Battalion was under the heavy fire from one front and snipers while receiving an order to hold the position at all costs.

Sidney Fillery Grave Registration Report © CWGC
Sidney Fillery Grave Registration Report © CWGC

It is likely that Private Fillery died during the second advance on Hill 70 at 8 AM. He may have been even killed by a bullet/shell fired from his own Battalion and his body damaged by fire on the hill as it was never found.

Born Dorking, Surrey
Lived Dorking, Surrey
Son of Percy and Harriet (nee Parker) Fillery
Enlisted Dorking
Regiment 2/4th The Queen’s Royal West Surrey Regiment
Number T/2636
Date of Death 9th August 1915
Place of Death Gallipolli
Cause of Death Killed in Action
Age 21
Memorial Helles Memorial, Turkey
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