CWG: Driver Sidney Hoskins

Driver Sidney Hoskins

Sidney Victor Hoskins was born in February 1892, one of eleven children to Sidney and Elizabeth Hoskins from Shepton Mallet in Somerset. Sidney Sr worked as a quarryman and labourer in local factories.

Sidney was keen to make a life for himself, enlisting in the army in 1909. He served two years as a driver for the Royal Engineers, before being put on the reserve list. By the time of the 1911 census, he was listed as a packer on the railway. In November of that year, Sidney married Ada Lambert, also of Shepton Mallet.

While working on the line in April 1913, Sidney had an accident, suffering a fractured skull. He wasn’t able to carry out any hard labour form that point.

War broke out and Sidney was remobilised; just a month after Ada gave birth to their one and only child, a daughter they named Ada.

New baby notwithstanding, Driver Hoskins was shipped to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. After two months he was sent down the line after suffering a fit, and was subsequently treated for pleurisy in Nantes. In November 1914, he returned to England and was ultimately discharged on medical grounds in February 1915.

During his time in France, he had also developed tuberculosis, and eventually spent three months in a sanitorium in Taunton, Somerset, to recover.

The condition continued to haunt Sidney, however, and he succumbed to the illness on 5th November 1917. He was 25 years of age.

Sidney Victor Hoskins lies at rest in the cemetery of his home town of Shepton Mallet.

Sidney’s younger brother, William Napier Hoskins, was also involved in the Great War. He had enlisted in the Somerset Light Infantry, and was based in India. Injured in fighting in the Persian Gulf, he was invalided back to India to recover. He was well enough to return to the fray, and was shipped to Mesopotamia, where he was injured again. He died of his wounds in Kut-al Amarah, Iraq, in 1915, aged just 20 years old.

The boys’ older brother Charles had also died in 1895, aged just six years old. While Sidney Sr and Elizabeth had had a family of eight girls, they were to outlive all three of their sons.

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