The Sinking of the R.M.S. Leinster

People on board

Sydney Walter Foghill

FOGHILL, Sydney Walter

Sydney Walter Foghill was born on the 5th of July 1879 in London to Frederick John Foghill and Louisa Rogers. He was the third of their eight children, all of whom were alive in 1911. Frederick Foghill, who had been born in Scotland, gave his occupation as Commercial Traveller at Sydney’s baptism and as Auctioneer in the 1891 census. In a court appearance on charges of fraud in 1893 he was described as an Auctioneer and ‘Public House Broker’ as well as an undischarged bankrupt. He died in 1899 leaving £44 to his widow. She lived in Rumsey Road in Lambeth with the four youngest girls and in 1911 also had her parents and five boarders in the house.

Sydney Foghill enlisted in the 15th Hussars, a Cavalry Regiment, in July 1897. He served in India from September 1899 until November 1909 and was then in South Africa until January 1913. In the 1911 census he was in the Transvaal. He extended his service to twenty-one years and was gradually promoted to Sergeant. In September 1914 he was posted to the Yorkshire Hussars. In June 1916, as Squadron Sergeant Major he was awarded the Silver medal for Long Service and Good Conduct, with a gratuity. He was promoted to Temporary Sergeant Major in February 1917 and received a mention in the London Gazette “for valuable services rendered in connection with the war”.

Sydney Foghill married Mary Champley in Scarborough in 1916 and they lived in Prospect Road. The Yorkshire Hussars Brigade moved to Ireland in April 1918 and he was returning home on leave when he travelled on RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. On the 15th the Leeds Mercury described his experience under the heading “Scarboro’ Army Sergeant’s Thrilling Story” where he recounted how he had been on a small raft with six men for two and three-quarter hours before they were rescued.

Sydney and Mary Foghill do not appear to have had any children. They were living in Bridlington, south of Scarborough, in the 1939 Register when he gave his occupation as ‘Hotel Licencee’. He died in Scarborough in 1960 aged eighty-one.



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