A campaign to raise money for a plaque commemorating local war hero, Sidney Lewis, has reached its target in just two weeks.
The Quid for Sid campaign, launched by local historian Geoff Simmons, aimed to raise £500 for a plaque honouring Sidney Lewis, the youngest soldier to serve in the British Army in the First World War. Sidney was just 12 when he joined up and he fought at the Battle of the Somme the following year.
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said “Sidney Lewis was a true Tooting boy and a brave war hero. I am delighted to support the campaign for him to be recognised, a hundred years after the battle of the Somme in which he fought, aged just 13. The plaque will inspire young and old. It is testimony to the generosity of the people of Tooting that the money needed was raised in just two weeks”.
The plaque, which will be unveiled by Sidney’s 83 year old son, Colin, will be placed on Garratt Lane, in a prominent position, about two minutes’ walk from Tooting Broadway station and will be passed by thousands of people every day heading to and from Tooting underground station.
Geoff Simmons said: “I know it’s going to be such a nice thing for the community, especially young people. They’ve been very interested. I think it makes people look at their lives and think what it would be like to be Sidney, fighting in one of the most horrible battles in history.”
Sadiq Khan MP said: “In recognising one of our own – Sidney Lewis – we will also remember the thousands of other men and women from Tooting and further afield who, 100 years ago, fought, gave their lives, lost loved ones or kept the home fires burning. I am deeply honoured to have been invited to unveil the plaque and I very much look forward to participating in the unveiling ceremony”.
The ceremony will take place in September, a hundred years to the month that Sidney returned home from the Western Front.