Integral’s Wallington branch fundraised to raise money for a commemorative blue plaque, signalling the house World War One’s youngest soldier lived in. It was five months after Sidney Lewis’ 12th birthday that he enlisted with the East Surrey regiment in August 1915. By the age of 13, he was battling in Deville Woods, Somme. After a telegram was sent to the British War Office by Sidney’s mother, detailing his real age and pleading for her son to be returned home, he was immediately discharged and sent back to England. His determination didn’t waiver, and he re-enlisted at age 16, serving in Austria. He worked in the bomb disposal during WWII, and later went on to join the police force until his passing in 1969 at age 63.
Sidney told the story of him being a boy solider in the Great War, but his son Colin, (now 84) thought it was a fabrication. It wasn’t until after Sidney’s death when the family went through his effects and realised he’d been telling the truth all along. After discovering his father’s claim was true, Colin confirmed Sidney’s identity to the relevant authorities, and an answer was finally provided for the decades’ old mystery of the unnamed child soldier.
Summerstown182 is a First World War history project ran in south London by local historians. Their aim is to honour all 182 men, aged from 15 upwards, that died in WWI from Summerstown, Tooting. Although Sidney didn’t die in action, his efforts and bravery have been respected and acknowledged by the project, and their aim is to give recognition to his nobility. They commissioned and raised money for the blue plaque. Once Integral found out about the cause, we were all too eager to help raise the funds towards the accolade. Fundraising began back in February, with the office having a dress-down day along with a bake sale.
At Integral, we are strongly committed to building relationships with the local communities we work in and are involved in a number of community projects on an on-going basis. We participate in our clients’ charity events and organise events with our supply chain managers. As a national business with a local presence, we want to be involved in the communities we serve. We are passionate about making a real impact and delivering measurable benefits in the community, both in our own right with our services, and in our partnerships.
Join us at the unveiling of the plaque, which will be led by Colin Lewis and will take place on Saturday 24th September at 934 Garratt Lane, Tooting Broadway. Following the reveal, the Heritage Lottery funded Summerstown182 History Project will be launched at St Mary’s Church. Refreshments and activities are available, and suitable for all ages.
For more information, check www.summerstown182.co.uk, or search the hashtag #SPUD182 on social media.