Sydney Kingston Gore

Birth Date:
12 July 1889 at Barry, Glamorgan, Wales
Death Date:
28 October 1914 at Neuve Chapelle, France
Service Branch:
1st Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment (Lieutenant)
Service Number:

Sydney Gore was the eldest son of Dr Alfred Joseph Gore of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia (later of Folkestone, Kent) by his wife, Edith, daughter of Henry Tompkins, Civil Servant of Abingdon Street, Westminster, London.

Sydney was born at Barry in Wales, where his father was a doctor, and educated at the Harvey Grammar School and Penfillan House, both in Folkestone. He had two younger brothers, Cecil (‘Ginger’) and Reginald (‘Reggie’). Ginger was in the 1st Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders fighting the Germans in France in 1914-15 and the Turks in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1916-17. On the outbreak of war Reggie aged 19, who was aiming to settle in Queensland, enlisted there into the 9th Battalion, Australian Imperial Force (AIF), and in 1915 took part in the disastrous eight-month Gallipoli campaign against the Turks during which he was promoted to Corporal. After that bloody failure (the New Zealanders lost a quarter of the men who had landed on the beaches in the first phase), he was commissioned into the 49th AIF in Egypt and in 1916-17 faced the German trenches in France with them. After the war both brothers transferred to the Indian Army, Ginger into the 42nd Cavalry from which he was invalided out in 1920. Reggie went into the Indian infantry in which he served throughout World War II, retiring on Indian independence in 1947. His regiment, 8th Punjab, now forms part of the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army

Sydney Gore was gazetted into the Royal West Kent Regiment (RWK) in May 1910, and by 1914 was a Lieutenant in the 1st Battalion stationed in Dublin. He represented the army at cricket but was best known as an international footballer (amateur in those days) and was the last English winner of the Dublin Hospitals Cup . The 1st Battalion RWK (some 900 men) landed at Le Havre in France on 15th August, eleven days after war was declared. They deployed with the rest of the British Expeditionary Force to face the initial German attack through Belgium. After fighting alongside the Fifth French Army at the Battle of Mons, Sydney’s battalion suffered further heavy losses in the ill-fated first assault on Neuve Chapelle (some twenty miles from the Belgian border). This attack was part of the Battle of La Bassée (“the race to the sea”), an attempt by the British to secure their supply routes through the Channel ports. In that battle the Royal Irish Rifles and the Wiltshire Regiment suffered particularly heavy casualties in the struggle to hold the line at the village of Neuve Chapelle. “The Irish regiment was reduced in close quarter combat from a force of 900 men to perhaps less than fifty”. The story is taken up by Sergeant Elson of the West Kents who records that on 28th October near Neuve Chapelle just south of the Bethune-Armentières road “after three days of severe fighting the battalion had become surrounded, and Lieut Gore, who was one of only three West Kent officers left, led ‘A’ Company forward into enemy fire to cover the withdrawal of the surviving men of the Wiltshire Regiment and the Irish Rifles. During this action Gore was shot through the head and killed. His body was discovered next day and buried in an unmarked grave in nearby woods”. He was 25 years old.

Lt Col Martyn, his commanding officer, among the many personal letters he had to send, wrote to Dr Alfred Gore about his eldest son: “He was a gallant officer, beloved by the whole regiment, who greatly mourned his loss”. Sydney’s name appears among those of his comrades on the Le Touret Memorial in France, it is on the Harvey Grammar School war memorial, and a stained glass window was erected in his memory in All Souls Church, Cheriton in Folkestone, Kent. Details of Sydney Gore’s wider family can be found in Chapter 8 of