Sydney Belfield – South Lancashire Regiment
Sydney was born at Brink Farm in Rainow on 16 May 1897 to Joseph and Elizabeth, the ninth of 14 children. The family moved to Macclesfield in 1901 before ending up in Wincle by 1903. They farmed for several years at The Whim (present day Broom Hill) but by 1911 they were at Bennett’s Hill and were still there during the war. As well as moving house the family seemed to change their church allegiance– the early children were baptised C of E in Rushton, Meerbrook and Rainow, the middle three – including Sydney – together on the same day in the Wesleyan Chapel on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield and the last ones C of E again in Wincle.
In 1911 Sydney was still at school but presumably started working on the farm a year or so later. The only information we have of his military service is that he joined the South Lancashire Regiment, with regimental no. 36519, serving initially with the 8th battalion, then the 7th and finally the 2/4th; all three fought in France and Flanders. The first two suffered great losses in the Battle of Passchendale (the 3rd Battle of Ypres) and were disbanded in February 1918. As Sydney was only awarded a Victory and British War Medal this means he was not sent abroad before 1916.
After the war Sydney continued working for his father, as a horseman. The family lived at Lower Nabbs in Wildboarclough for many years. In later life, Sydney lived with his spinster sister Florence in York Street, off Buxton Road (which was developed to make way for the Victoria Flats). They then moved to Bond Street which was where he was living when he died in 1974 in Macclesfield Infirmary.
Sydney’s brother George also served in the war and is remembered on the Wincle Memorial.
Long Long Trail