Object: Portrait of Sidney Cresswell
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|Title||Portrait of Sidney Cresswell|
Berry & Co (photography studio), 1916, Wellington
|Materials||photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates|
|Classification||studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives|
|Format||half plate (1/2)|
|Credit line||Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds|
Sidney Cresswell, service number 10325
This is a portrait of Sidney Cresswell in the uniform of a Trooper in the 12th Reinforcements of the Wellington Mounted Rifles.
Sidney Cresswell was aged 26, single, and working as a wire mattress maker in Wellington when he volunteered for the Army Service Corps in December 1915. As there were too many volunteers for the Corps from Wellington, he was one of several men who were asked at a special parade on 8 December if they were prepared to transfer to other units. Sidney agreed to transfer to the Mounted Rifles, and enlisted with B Squadron of the 12th Reinforcements, Wellington Mounted Rifles on 11 January 1916. He was posted immediately to train with them at Tauherinikau Camp near Featherston. He was with the Mounteds until 5 April, when he was transferred to the infantry as a member of J Company, 12th Reinforcements.
Sidney embarked from Wellington with the 12th Reinforcements on 6 May 1916. He arrived in England via Egypt on 7 August for training at Sling Camp, but fell sick and was admitted to Tidworth Hospital on 24 August. On his recovery, he was transferred to the NZEF's Group Headquarters as a groom, then to the Pioneer Batallion at Sling Camp on 18 October. He was sent to France on 30 October, and served with the Pioneer Batallion 'In the Field' from 10 December till 25 February 1917 when he was detached for duty with the 1st British Army's Forest Control Unit. On 31 May, Sidney was 'permanently attached' to one of the Royal Engineers' Forestry Companies. Forestry work was important work supporting the fighting troops, as huge amounts of timber were needed to make 'duckboards' (walkways across sodden ground) and for all sorts of construction tasks.
Sidney had brief periods of leave in England in June-July 1917 and February 1918, then served with No. 361 Forestry Company until 31 December.
He was at Lark Hill Camp when he fell sick with influenza and was admitted to Fargo Military Hospital near Birmingham on 4 February 1919, then to the New Zealand Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch on 17 February. He was examined by a Medical Board on 20 February which noted his 'debility' from influenza and recommended he be classified as 'B3' (unfit for war service) for 3 months.
Sidney left England for the voyage home on 11 March. He was examined during the voyage by another Medical Board, which although it attributed his 'debility' to war service, recommended that he not be given a disability pension.
He was discharged from the NZEF at Wellington on 27 May 1919. On 24 March 1921 he married Lillian Rose Edwards, whom he may have met in England, but who died only two years later. Sidney remarried, to Amy Sarah Hurley, in 1924, and went on to live a long life, dying in 1971 at the age of 83.
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