|In Memory of|
SYDNEY ROBERT ARMITAGE
Royal Army Servive Corps
Who died on Friday, 11th May 1917
Buried Pkot I Row E. Grave 16
Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery Extension, Pas de Calais, France
Commemorated in Perpetuity
by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Remembered with Honour
Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery Extension1
Sydney Robert Armitage was born in Nottingham in about December 18942, the second son, third child of Stephen and Margaret (née Robinson)
Armitage. In 1901, the family were living at Rock House, Epperstone, Notts3, except for Sydney's elder brother, Stephen Cecil Armitage (1889-1962) who was then
boarding at Winkfield School in Winkfield, Berkshire4. By 1911, the family had moved to Beeston and was living at Broadgate House on Broadgate5.
Stephen Armitage was the third son, one of fourteen children, of Samuel Fox Armitage (1830-1914) who, as a member of a Quaker family, had attended Bootham School, a
Quaker boarding school in York. In turn, Stephen had attended the Ackworth School, a Quaker school, near Pontefract, Yorkshire. By 1869, Samuel had taken over the firm
of Hutchinson & Armitage, a very successful Nottingham grocery enterprise. In 1890, he transferred the company to his sons, Wilson, Joseph John and Stephen Armitage who
continued to develop it, particularly by their opening of quality café/restaurants in Nottingham - notably the Mikado Café on Long Row and the Oriental Café
on Wheeler gate. In 1897, the company was floated as a public company as Armitage Brothers Limited.6.
In addition to his undoubted business acumen, Stephen applied his energies to charity and philanthropic works - in particular to guiding and assisting many of the local
hospitals with his experience and resources. There is more about Stephen Armitage's life and works here
By the beginning of the Great War, both sons had begun their careers - Stephen Cecil as a solicitor with the Nottingham firm of Eking, Morris & Armitage and Sydney
Robert as an accountant. Both immediately put these careers on hold, to serve with the colours. Both were commissioned with the Notts & Derby Army Service Corps, Stephen
Cecil as a Captain and, Sydney Robert. initially as a Second Lieutenant.
On 15 February 1915, Stephen Armitage died unexpectedly, aged only 50, at his home in Beeston7. Some five days earlier he had undergone an operation for appendicitis
from which he was expected to make a full recovery. When he took a turn for the worse, both sons rushed home to his bedside, from Braintree, Essex where they were stationed
awaiting transfer to France.
So it was that, barely two weeks later, on 4 March 1915, Sydney embarked for France as part No 4 Company, 46th Divisional Train which was commanded by his brother. The Company
quickly settled down to its daily, unending task. Division Trains, provided horse-drawn transport for a specific Division. Typically, it comprised a small Train Headquarters, a
Headquarters Company, three other Horse Transport Companies and a contingent of other troops (known as Army Troops), all of the Army Service Corps. An officially approved Train
could comprise up to 22 Officers and 337 men and would then occupy almost a mile of road when on the move in approved formation. It's vital task was to provide a supply line to
On 10th October 1915, Sydney was promoted to Temporary Lieutenant, a position that was made permanent from 1st June 1916. The Company's war diaries continue to
record the daily routine which he and the rest of the Company faced until, in May 1917, the record reads :
11th May - Lt Armitage killed together with horse while
on convoy duty near Lievin
12th May - Lt Armitage buried at Mazingarbe
Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery and its extension are located in the Pas de Calais, in the small town of Mazingarbe, located between Lens and Bethune. Mazingarbe Communal
Cemetery was used by units and field ambulances from June 1915 to February 1916. It contains 108 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and 24 French war graves.
The extension was begun by the 16th (Irish) Division in April 1916 and continued in use until October 1918. It contains 248 Commonwealth burials of the First World War
and two German graves.9.
6Lieutenant Armitage was posthumously awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star. These were sent to his mother in November 1922, while she was living at
College Hill House, Haselmere, Surrey10. She later returned to Beeston to live out her life with her two unmarried daughters, Elsie Margaret (1892-1974) and Hilda Winifred
(1895-1981), at Cavendish Lodge, 10 Devonshire Avenue. She died at her home on 9 November 1938 with her funeral service at Beeston Parish Church, where she had been a devoted member
during her lifetime11. She was interred in Nottingham Church Cemetery with her husband12. Hilda married Bernard Charles Webster at Beeston Parish Church, on 20
April 1939. Stephen Cecil Armitage survived the war, became a Director of Armitage Brothers Limited and took an active part in public life. He was Knighted in 1953, awarded the CBE,
and was an Alderman and Honorary Freeman of the City of Nottingham. He died in 1962 leaving an estate valued at £109,470.
1The photograph of the Mazingarbe Communal Cemetery Extension is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
2He was baptised at Nottingham All Saints Church, Nottingham on 28 December 1893. His birth was registered in Nottingham Registration District in Q1/1894 (Ref 7b 304)
31901 Census - Epperstone, Notts: Piece 3192 Folio 137. They employed a governess, a nurse and a cook.
41901 Census - Winkfield, Berkshire: Piece 1163 Folio 19
51911 Census - Beeston, Notts: Piece 20430 RD429 SD3 ED5 Sched 307. Margaret's widowed mother, Mary A Robinson, was living with the family. They employed two servants.
6More details of the company and its activities are in the notice of a Bond Issue in the Nottingham Express on 15 August 1899
7Nottingham Evening Post : 15 February 1915 and Nottingham Journal : 16 February 1915.
His estate valued at £22,188 was proved at Nottingham on 24 February 1915 by his sons.
8Details of the activities of the Divisional Train in France are in its war diaries (available on ancestry com)
Details of a typical Divisional Train are from The Long, Long Train website (www.1914-1918.net/what_divtrain.html) where more details may be found.
9The description of the cemetery is based on that given on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. (http://www.cwgc.org)
10Details of medals, embarkation date and mother's address in 1922 from Sydney's medal Card (on ancestry.com).
His estate, valued at £2,229 was proved at Nottingham by his brother, on 1 August 1917
11Nottingham Journal : 10 November 1938 and 14 November 1938.
12Grave Number 9130 Rock Section. The memorial includes inscriptions for both Stephen and Margaret as well as their son, Sidney Robert.
Other detail is derived from standard genealogical sources
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