Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 8 March 2013

Sidney Farnell Vidler - Sad Death After War Service

Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries.

Monument to Sidney Farnell Vidler, All Saints Church, Boyne Hill, Maidenhead, Berkshire.

"In loving memory of Sidney Farnell Vidler youngest son of Harriet and the late Thomas Vidler.  Who entered into rest July 2nd 1902 Aged 32.

Served in the Field Hospital on Her late Magesty's Royal Army Medical Staff Corps in the South African War. "

Sidney (sometimes Sydney) Farnell Vidler was born in Hounslow Middlesex in 1869 to Thomas William Vidler, a Cabinet maker, and his wife Harriet Death.  He was christened on 25th June 1869 at the Holy Trinity church in Hounslow, Middlesex.

For some strange reason I am unable to locate Sidney on the 1871 Census when he would have been around 2 years of age.  His parents Thomas and Harriet along with their sons Stephen aged 21 and Frank aged 11 are living at Cannalls Cottage in Salehurst, Sussex.

In 1881 Sidney is living with his parents and siblings, Alfred, a joiner aged 22, Frank, now Frederick, a decorator aged 20, Henry, a silversmiths assistant aged 18, Kate (born Harriet Kate) aged 15 and Alice aged 10 at Isleworth Villa in Maidenhead Berkshire.  Also living with the family is Thomas' brother William Vidler, an investor in houses and land.

In 1888 Thomas Vidler was to pass away

1891 finds the widowed Harriet still living at Isleworth Villa with her brother-in-law William Vidler and daughter Harriet Kate.  Sidney is currently visiting the house on leave from the 19th Royal Hussars stationed at Aldershot.  At some point Sidney joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and served as a nurse in the field hospital during the Second Boer War 1899 - 1902 (also known as the South African War).

In 1901, just a year before his death, Sidney is in Croyden, Surrey, visiting his sister Mary Ann and her husband Edward Bridges.  Sidney's occupation is listed as male nurse.

Sidney was to pass away from heart disease at his sister Mary Ann's house in Croyden on July 2nd 1902. 

On Saturday 12th July 1902 the Reading Mercury reported

"Sad Death After War Service

Mr. Sydney Vilder, son of Mrs. Vidler, of "The Castle," Castle Hill, Maidenhead, died suddenly at the age of 32.  He served during the South African War in the army Medical Corps, and contracted heart disease as a result of hardships with General Buller's column at Colenso and at the Modder River, during the early part of the campaign.  He was subsequently invalided home and suffered a great deal.  He fell down dead of Wednesday morning last week at his sister's house in A Thornton Heath, having arrived there only the day before to spend a few days with her.

The deceased was present when Lord Robert's son was mortally wounded in his heroic attempt to save the guns at Calenso.  He assisted to carry the officer to the hospital tent, and rendered assistance, with others, while Mr. Treves (now Sir Frederick Treves) operated on Lord Robert's son, who, however, succumbed to his wounds.  Mr. Vilder's funeral took place at All Saints churchyard, Boyne Hill on Saturday afternoon, the Rev. E. J. G. Forse officiating.  The mourners were members of the family of  the deceased, and there were many beautiful wreaths, including one to represent the badge of the Medical Corps."

Sidney left his entire estate consisting of £400 to his sister Harriet Kate Vidler.


  1. Amazing how well travled some of the people were who you can find in local churchyards.

    1. And to think in those days to get there it would have meant weeks or even months on a ship. Not a quick hop on a plane.

  2. I agree --- it's pretty amazing when you think of what travel actually was like back then. :)

    Thanks for sharing on Taphophile Tragics!!


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