Sydney Darker

There is no mention of Sydney Darker nor any member of his family in Parish Records.   The researcher wondered, therefore, if the family had moved in to West Haddon at some stage.   This was not the case.   The Darkers were a well established West Haddon family.

The 1871 Census shows Sydney’s father William Joseph Darker, born in West Haddon 1851,  living with an aunt and uncle in Church Brampton.   In 1881 however he had returned to the village, living with his wife Fanny, nee Dyer, at The Firs.   His occupation was described as a farmer occupying 100 acres and employing three men.

Sydney then aged 7, having been born in June 1884, appears in the 1891 Census living in West Haddon with his parents and his siblings William, aged 8, Sophie aged 3 and John, aged 1.

In 1901 his parents and siblings were living in Westfield House.   Sydney however was living at 204 Kettering Road, Northampton, employed as an apprentice butcher.

I could not find him in the 1911 census.   Another researcher however found him staying at the Belle Vue Hotel, Aberystwyth, with other graziers from Northampton under the name of Lydney Darker.   For centuries young Welsh cattle were driven south for the London market bur were fattened in Northamptonshire before being driven to Smithfield.   Sydney would have been in Aberystwyth choosing stock for  fattening in West Haddon.

Military records show the Re-engagement/Enlistment of Corporal Sydney Darker into the Northampton Yeomanry Territorial Force at Guilsborough for 3 years.   He was aged 25 at that time.   His attestation shows him joining the military on 10/4/1908.

His discharge documents show him as a Sergeant (promoted 7/4/1912) with the Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line, regimental number 98, with a Sub Unit of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry and a previous unit of the 98 Northamptonshire Yeomanry Dragoons.

His discharge date, after 8 years service, was 9/4/1916 at the age of 32  with the comment “Termination of his period of engagement – Kings regulations Para. 392 XX1.   His character was marked as “Exemplary”.

His record of service shows the following postings:

Home 5/8/14 – 4/11/14

British Expeditionary Force France 5/11/14 – 29/3/16

Home 30/3/16 – 9/4/16

There is no information to show if he returned to live in West Haddon following his discharge other than the baptism of a son William Harry Darker on 23/11/1919 to Sydney Darker, his father and Amy Sarah his mother.   Sydney was shown as a farmer.

Sydney Darker died in Rugby in December 1961 aged 77 – Rugby 9c Page 926.

Jim Blakey

2nd November, 2016