Sidney Edward Oates

Sydney Edward Oates
Quarter Master Serjeant
3rd Battalion Suffolk Regiment .

War Plot

Oates SE photo screen wall

Sydney Edward Oates was the third son of late Mr & Mrs William Thomas Oates of “Moreton” Talford Avenue, Reading. Quartermaster Sergeant Oates died at Katesgrove Hospital.  In the Reading Standard of  August 11. 1917 he was described as “a gallant soldier and a keen, conscientious church worker”.  He was spoken of in glowing terms by his officers.  He had had a varied and honourable military career. It appears that his untiring energy in the early days of the war may have contributed to the illness which was the cause of his death.

Sydney Oates was born on Jan 12th 1870 in the parish of St. Giles and was educated at the British school, later going to the Blue Coat School.  Leaving school in 1884 he went into the ironmongery trade with Mr. Hawkes, High St.  He enlisted in the Suffolk Regt. on 7th Oct. 1889 and saw service in Egypt from 1889-1891, India from 1891-1892, and at home from 1893-1896 at Colchester and Warley.  He was on reserve for  3 years and served again with his regiment in the South African War, 1899-1902.  He remained in South Africa for some years after his 12 years service and on returning to England worked for Ocean Accident & Guarantee Corp. HQ in London.  He re-enlisted with the Suffolks on Nov. 12th 1914 and was stationed at Felixstowe.  He was invalided out in 1916 and passed away “bravely and patiently” as a pensioner.

The funeral took place with full military honours.  Chief mourners included Miss Gibbs & Pte. H. M. Oates, Canadian Expeditionary Force and his sisters.  Their were a large number of floral tributes.

His major wrote when he had to leave the battalion through ill health”  I should like to take the opportunity of thanking you for all the good work you have done from the time you came up until you were most unfortunately incapacitated….I personally owe you a deep debt of gratitude for your loyal and devoted services during a period when failure meant disaster….I know how grieved you are at being unable to see the war through, but rest easy on that score.  You have done your duty”.

His name is entered on the screen wall in the War Plot. His extensive service records are available on Ancestry UK.

Joseph William Odell and brothers – Odell

Joseph William Odell
Trooper 1st Berkshire Yeomanry

 Division 65

JW Odell Odell AG photo bros Joseph Odell EV photo

Joseph Odell was the son of Mr and Mrs Joseph Odell of 87, Cardigan Road.  After leaving school he went to work for Pulsometer Engineering. Joseph was a well-liked young man who had joined the Yeomanry two years before the war.  He was passed as fit by the Doctors and went to serve in Egypt.  He had been there for only a few weeks when he was taken ill and on 12th August 1915 just days before his unit was due to land at Suvla Bay. He was evacuated back to England where he was first sent to hospital in Birmingham and then to Norton, Gloucester and then Pinewood at Hastings.  It was found that he was suffering so badly from tuberculosis that he was sent home to his parents where he eventually died on 3rd February 1916.  He was 22 years of age.

His funeral was military in character with buglers of the Yeomanry sounding the last post. Representatives of his squadron were Trooper Frederick Potts V.C. and Trooper Cook.  There were many mourners including his parents and two brothers as well as other family members and friends including those from Pulsometer Engineering Works and St. Lukes Club.

Joseph Odell was buried in the Reading Cemetery in Division 65.  There was no grave marker but the Thames Valley Branch of the Western Front Association and the Berkshire Yeomanry raised funds to erect a headstone similar in character to that of the CWGC headstone. It was dedicated on 26 June 2004 in a ceremony attended by the Lord Lieutenant of Berkshire, the Honorary Colonel of the Yeomanry, representatives  of the Yeomanry Museum and members of the WFA. The headstone was unveiled by veteran William Stone aged 103.

Odell headstone and WStone


His brother Lance Corporal 2442 Edward Victor Odell, 1st / 4th Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment was killed in action on 14th August 1916, he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing Pier and Face 11D.

Odell EV name

There were no family details given in the CWGC register entry.  The Standard September 9th 1916, gave details of the death of Edward Victor Odell.  He had been a bugler in the Territorials for five years before the war but had left a few months before war was declared.  Edward re-enlisted in the first week of the war joining the 1st/4th Royal Berkshire Regiment.  He had been at the front 17 months when he was killed in the Somme battles.  In civil life, Edward had been a printer for eight years with Messer’s Bradley and Sons, the Forbury.  Edward was married and his son, whom he never saw, was born nine days before the notification of Edward’s death.

The Standard reports the existence of a third brother A.G. Odell who enlisted in the Royal Garrison Artillery at the beginning of the war.  Lance Bombardier, 42215, Albert George Odell served with the 122nd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.  He was killed in action on 18th June 1918, aged 23. He is buried in Wailly Orchard Cemetery, Pas De Calais.  Location II.D.4.  He was the husband of E.L.Ward, formerly Odell of 47, Albert Road, Reading.  It was originally difficult to locate this brother because the CWGC detail spelt the surname as O’Dell rather than Odell which is common to other memorials to the brothers.

All the Odell brothers are commemorated on the Reading Blue Coat School War Memorial.