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Henry George Sewell

Henry George Sewell


Henry was born on 31May 1883, the son of George and Sarah Ann Sewell; he had an older sister, Agnes Ann, and a younger brother, Ben; all the children were born in Eltisley.

Henry enlisted in the 8th Battalion Suffolk Regiment on 22March 1916, when he was 32 years old; before the War he worked as a labourer for Mr Fowler of Gt Gransden, earning 17 shillings a week.

From the battalion records we know that the 8th Suffolks took part in the battle for Thiepval, between 26 and 28 September 1916. The battalion had been training for the attack for several weeks and their objectives in the operation were to take Zollern and Bulgar trenches, and part of the Schwaben Redoubt. Following a heavy bombardment through out the morning of September 26, the battalion’s attack started at 12.35pm, and by the afternoon of 28 they had achieved all their objectives, although at a cost of over 200 casualties. If this was Henry’s introduction to front line battle, it was a very tough experience for him.

It is difficult to say where Henry would have been fighting just before he died, because he died of illness, he was not killed in battle. He contracted Spotted Fever (Cerebrospinal Meningitis), which was a contagious bacterial disease caused by overcrowding, cold weather, and over-muscular exertion, particularly prevalent among new recruits. There were outbreaks of this disease throughout the First World War, the numbers of deaths reaching a peak in 1917, when 192 men died in France and Flanders (out of 692 who had contracted the disease). Henry was sent away from his battalion, to hospital in St Omer.

Henry died in hospital on 15 May 1917, aged 33. Henry is buried in Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery at St Omer.




Henry George Sewell
Private 40818 (formerly 4175), 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment

31 May 1883 – 15 May 1917
(aged 33)

  Henry is buried in Longuenesse Souvenir Cemetery at St Omer.

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