Sidney Fermer Blencowe
Private, Australian Imperial Force
Age 15, Class VI B: 'Has improved much this term.'
Sidney Fermer Blencowe was 25 years old when he joined the Australian Imperial Force in July 1915. He lived in Dulwich with his parents, Francis and Mary, and his sister, Maria before he moved to Perth, Australia where he found work as a letter carrier. Before July 1915, Sidney had already attempted to enlist in the AIF but was rejected for not meeting the enlistment criteria. This was common problem men faced throughout the Empire and the standards to join were eventually lowered in June 1915. The new criteria lowered the height requirement from 5ft 6 inches to 5ft 2 inches allowing Sidney, who was 5ft 3 ¼ inches, to be eligible for service. He was appointed to the newly formed 48th Battalion in March 1916 as they moved to the Western Front. In July 1916, he took part in the Battle of the Somme where 48th Battalion were ordered to defend the captured ground at Pozieres. His next major action came in 1917 at the Battle of Bullecourt, an offensive launched to assist the Arras operation in April. Sidney was killed in action on the first day of this battle. His personal effects, including his wallet, family photos and handkerchief were forwarded to his family at home in England.