Information about birth

Year of birth:
Place of birth:
Balmain, New South Wales, Australia

General information


Army information

Australian Imperial Force
Service number:
Enlistment date:
Enlistment place:
Moore Park, Sydney, South Wales, Australia
 —  Australian Infantry, 17th Bn. (New South Wales)  (Last known unit)

Information about death

Date of death:
Place of death:
Anzac, Belgium
Cause of death:
Killed in action (K.I.A.)


Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood
Plot: XXX
Row: B
Grave: 4

Distinctions and medals 3

British War Medal
Military Medal
Medal — 08/11/1917
Victory Medal

Points of interest 3

#1 Place of birth
#2 Enlistment place
#3 Place of death (approximate)

My story

Sergeant Sidney Oakley served in the Australian Infantry 17th Battalion, part of the 5th Australian Brigade, of the 2nd Australian Division. During the operation against the Hindenburg Line near Noreuil on 3rd/4th May Sidney Oakley, then a Corporal, was put forward for the Military Medal. He was in a carrying party and worked continuously for over 60 hours, often under very heavy barrages. he showed an utter contempt for danger, rallying the men, assisting the wounded, and maintaining the supply of S.A.A. and bombs from a forward battle dump to the front line. He set a splendid example, and his behavior inspired the men when passing through a barrage.
A couple of months later the 2nd Australian Division took part in the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge (20-25 September), part of the Third Battle of Ypres. On the 20th September 1917 the Division attacked from Westhoek Ridge. The attack was carried by the 5th and 7th Australian Brigades and was aimed at the German line, which ran along a spur known as Anzac Ridge. The 5th Australian Brigade attacked with the 20th, 18th Battalions; the 17th Battalion was to be in support and had to capture the third and last objective. In the early hours of the 20th of September the 20th and 18th Battalions assembled at Westhoek Ridge, while the 17th assembled at Bellewaerde Ridge.
The attack began at 5.40 a.m. And the 20th Battalion went forward behind a creeping barrage. Half an hour later the Battalion captured the first objective, the Red Line. The 18th battalion moved through the 20th and captured the second objective, the Blue Line, by 07.40 a.m. Now the 17th started advancing. In the muddy and desolate valley of the Hanebeek stream, the Battalion was shelled by the German artillery. Notwithstanding the shelling the 17th suffered only slight casualties and moved through the line of the 20th Battalion, and later through the 18th Battalion. Under cover of a barrage the 17th Battalion advanced to the their objective, the Green Line, which was quickly occupied without opposition.
When the Germans had recovered from the initial blow, they started shelling the area of the 17th Battalion, while German airplanes machine-gunned the men. Battalion Headquarters were relocated to a captured German pill-box at Garter point, due to the heavy shelling. The German artillery kept shelling the 17th Battalion’s positions throughout the afternoon, causing very heavy casualties.
Sergeant Sidney Oakley was killed during the attack on Anzac Ridge. He was initially buried along the south of Anzac House. After the war his remains were exhumed and interred in Buttes New British Cemetery, Polygon Wood. According to witness testimonies in his Red Cross Wounded and Missing File Sergeant Sidney Oakley was killed by German shell fire. It’s possible he was wounded by shrapnel in his leg and was killed later on, when he was struck by another shell. According to witness reports he was heavily disfigured in the face, but was identified by his clothes and Military Medal.

Files 2

Sources 8

"The Story of the Seventeenth Battalion A.I.F. in the Great War 1914-1918", Mackenzie K.W., Sydney, 1946, pg. 190-193.
Sources used
"The Third Ypres Passchendaele. The Day-by-Day Account", McCarthy C., London, Arms & Armour Press, 1995, pg. 75.
Sources used
Sources used
Australian War Memorial
Sources used
Sources used
National Archives of Australia
Sources used
The Long, Long Trail
Sources used
War Diary A.I.F. 17th Bn.
Sources used