Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1915, Second Lieutenant Sidney Alfred Nathaniel Sharpe Barthropp, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Sussex Regiment, was killed in action at Cuinchy, Pas-de-Calais, in France. His entrenched battalion had come under heavy attack, and he was shot through the head by a sniper, dying instantly.
The only son of Major Alfred Shafto Barthropp, he was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge. At the outbreak of the Great War he was commissioned into the Royal Sussex Regiment, arriving at the Western Front two weeks before his death, in the same sector as the poet Robert Graves.
Second Lieutenant Barthropp’s commanding officer wrote to his parents: “He was killed during an attack by the Germans upon a portion of the line which we were holding, and in which the company with which your son was serving put up a very gallant defence, and beat off a very determined attack. He died a soldier’s death in the very front of the fight. In him we feel we have lost a comrade who was bound to do well, and who during the short time he had been with us had endeared himself to all.” It was recorded by the adjutant that when he was shot he had been firing from the trench at the oncoming German soldiers, many of whom were yards away, and some had even invaded the trenches occupied by the British.
The chaplain also wrote to his parents to let them know that there had been a proper burial in the graveyard, the Cuinchy Cemetery near Bethune, and gave precise directions to the grave for future reference. During the burial lyddite shells could be heard, and he remarked on the bullets whizzing by those attending..
Sidney, of Newport House, Essex, was 22 years old.