Sydney Herbert Charter
Gunner, Royal Field Artillery
Age 16, Class VI B: 'Good at Mathematics and Science. A good boy.'
Sydney Herbert Charter was 20 years old when he decided to enlist in the British Expeditionary Force. He worked as a clerk after leaving Alleyn’s in 1910 and lived at 25 Beauval Road with his parents and his brother and sister, Reginald and Eva. After war broke out in August 1914, Sydney swiftly made the decision to enlist in the Army and he joined the 6th (Reserve) London Brigade, Royal Field Artillery after being found fit for service. He was with the battalion for 16 weeks before he was transferred to the Inns of Court Officer Training Corps which focused on training potential officers for service at the front. He did not end up accepting a commission and instead returned to the front-line as a Gunner with the London Regiment in April 1916. After re-joining the battalion on the Western Front, he took part in some of the major British offensives at Messines, Third Ypres and Cambrai in 1917. In 1918, he was transferred yet again and was assigned to 18th Brigade, Royal Horse Artillery. The members of the RHA were responsible for manning light, mobile guns that provided the required firepower to support the advancing infantry. Such support was crucial as the Allies advanced to Flanders in the last few months of the war. Sydney served with the brigade until being demobilised in July 1919. For his services in the war, he was awarded the British War and Victory Medal.