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Sifton, William Alfred

William Alfred Sifton, Second Lieutenant was educated at St. Paul's School, Hammersmith. During the five years he was at school, he proved himself a good all round man, alike at work and at sport. The interest he took in the work of the School O.T.C. has proved to be but the earnest of a career in which his Commanding Officer saw signs "that he would have made his mark before the end of the war." Leaving school at the age of 17, he continued his education on special lines at King's College and the London School of Economics with a view to joining his father - an old King's student - in the publishing world. He had just passed the Intermediate Examination in Arts when the war broke out. He was gazetted to the 8th Bn. South Staff Regiment and proceeding to the front died, from wounds received in action, on December 25th, 1915.

"Your son was one of my subalterns when I was commanding a company during the days of training before we left England," writes Major Barker to his father, "I always considered he was one of the best Subalterns in the Regiment. I personally feel his loss very keenly." His fortitude and worth were shewn not in England alone however, for whilst out in France, no matter how trying the circumstances, no matter how bad the weather, he was always cheerful and always willing to undertake any duty allocated to him.

At 11 a.m. on December 24th whilst doing duty in the front trenches, he was hit by pieces of a trench mortar bomb, during a short but intense bombardment by the Germans. It was at first thought that his wounds would not prove fatal. While in the dug-out waiting for darkness when they could carry him back, he was conscious and very cheerful. Despite his pain and suffering he wished the men about him a merry Christmas, showing all through the brave spirit of a true soldier. He died on Christmas morning a few hours after he reached the casualty clearing station.

To his parents in this sad hour the many tributes of the officers of his regiment must afford some consolation. His Company Commander writes, "He was highly esteemed and loved by the officers and men of the Regiment, and was one of the bravest men I have ever known and an excellent Officer. I have on several occasions mentioned him to the Commanding Officer for doing good work. His fortitude while waiting wounded, was spoken of by all as remarkable. He is buried at Poperhinge where he died." God rest this gallant Christian gentleman! King's College Review June 1916

Biographical

Surname(s)Sifton
First name(s)William Alfred
Family details

Son of Alfred John and Alice Elizabeth Sifton, of Ealing, London

Previous educationSt. Paul's School, Hammersmith
CollegeKing's College London and/or King's College London Hospital
Dates at college1912-1914
Dept / courseEvening Classes, Arts and Science
Military unitSouth Staffordshire Regiment 8th Battn.
War / conflictWorld War One (1914-1918)
CampaignsFrance July-December 1915
Date of death25 December 1915
Age at death20
Rank at death2nd Lieutenant
Place of deathWounded in front of Ypres on the Menin Road and died of wounds the following day
Burial placeLijssenthoek Military Cemetery II. A. 22.
Commemoration(s)King's College Chapel; Ealing War Memorial; Haven Green Baptist Church, Ealing
Sources

King's College London Archives; Commonwealth War Graves; Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914 - 1919

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Sifton, William Alfred
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