Sydney Hunter (1882-1966)
Washington hotel proprietor served with 15th DLI won the DCM during the '100 Days Offensive'
Sydney Hunter, the son of Albert and Ann M Hunter, was born in Usworth, Sunderland in 1882. He had two brothers and four sisters and was a striker when he joined the Durham Light Infantry at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 30 October 1899.
He was posted to the 1st Battalion on 24 February 1900 and landed in South Africa on 25 May. The following day he was transferred to the 3rd Battalion and almost a year later was transferred back to the 1st Battalion. Some months later he was wounded and was sent back to England on 12 October 1901. A year later he bought himself out and went to work in his uncle’s hotel.
At the end of 1909 Sydney married Elizabeth Hannah Paxton and they had a daughter the following year. By 1911, he was proprietor of the hotel and, on 24 October 1914, he re-enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry, joining the 15th Battalion and rising to the rank of Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant and Acting Regimental Sergeant-Major.
During his time in France he was twice Mentioned in Despatches, was awarded the Meritorious Conduct Medal and won the Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) during the ‘100 Days Offensive’. After demobilisation he returned to the hotel in Washington which he ran until he and his family emigrated to Canada on 13 May 1927.
His award of the DCM was gazetted on 15 November 1918 and the citation reads:
“In September 1918, during an attack, under very heavy machine-gun fire, this warrant officer set a conspicuous and brilliant example of courage and determination, which did much to encourage the men in the difficult task of the advance. He assisted the officers to reorganise when the objective was captured, displaying the utmost coolness under heavy fire”.
International Encyclopedia of the First World War, page on Hundred Days Offensive:
Durham Light Infantry, medals collection online database:
Civil Parish: Washington
Birth date: 1882
Death date: 1966
Armed force/civilian: Army
Residence: Commercial Hotel, The Green, Washington (1911 census)
Employment: Striker (British Army WWI Pension Records 1914-1920)
Hotel Proprietor (1911 census)
Family: Father: Albert Hunter
Mother: Anna M Hunter (nee Collins)
Siblings: Florence G, Elizabeth Ada, Albert, Frederick William, Frances Alison & Julia Hunter
Wife: Elizabeth Hannah Hunter (nee Paxton)
Daughter: Gladys Hunter
Boer War: 1st & 3rd Battalions Durham Light Infantry
Regimental number: 6939
First World War:
15th Battalion Durham Light Infantry
Regimental number: 19353
Medal(s): Boer War:
Queen’s South Africa Medal with 4 clasps
King’s South Africa Medal
Good Conduct Medal
First World War:
Distinguished Conduct Medal
Meritorious Service Medal
Mentioned in despatches (twice)
British War Medal
Contributed by John Edwards
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