Private Sydney Amyas Winterbottom was born in Calgary, Alberta, on November 22, 1895*, the first child of Arthur and Jennie (née Banister) Winterbottom. Soon after Sydney’s birth the family moved to Kamloops, British Columbia, where siblings Helen, Keith, Joan, and John were born.
Winterbottom enlisted with the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles at Vernon, B.C., on July 15, 1915, and spent the following year training in British Columbia, first at the Vernon Camp, then at Connaught Barracks in Nanaimo, and finally at Willows Camp, Victoria. He was able on several occasions to return home on leave to Kamloops during this time period. Winterbottom sailed for England on board the S.S. Lapland with the 11th C.M.R. in July of 1916, and then proceeded to France in October of 1916 where he served with the 29th Battalion.
He was killed in action on November 6, 1917, in the Battle of Passchendaele (Third Battle of Ypres). Winterbottom is among the over fifty thousand men without known graves who died defending the Ypres Salient and are commemorated on the Menin Gate (Ypres) Memorial, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.
The majority of the letters in the Winterbottom Collection were written home to his parents and siblings, but also included are several written by other soldiers such as his close friend Adrian Thrupp, who had also enlisted in August of 1915 with the 11th C.M.R. The two friends served together throughout the war until just shortly before Winterbottom’s death. Among the condolence letters is one written to Thrupp by Douglas (Dug) Goudie. Like Thrupp, Goudie was both a good friend of Winterbottom’s from before the war and a close companion during it, and both are mentioned frequently throughout the Winterbottom letters. More biographical information about Thrupp and Goudie can be found on their own individual collection pages, along with copies of their letters and photos that originated here as part of the Winterbottom Collection.
In his letters Winterbottom would almost always include comments or news about other soldiers he was posted with or had known previously back home in Kamloops. Thirty-four of the soldiers mentioned in his letters were able to be identified and connected with military service information (see external links below). Many were young men from the Kamloops area who had enlisted during 1915-1916 with either the 11th Canadian Mounted Rifles or the 172nd Battalion. A reference guide to where the names of those identified can be found in the Winterbottom letters has been posted under “Other Materials” in the Collection Contents section below (please be aware that using just the website search tool to find names in the letters may be problematic owing to the variety of spellings used by Winterbottom).
External links for Pte. Winterbottom:
Pte. Sydney Winterbottom’s service record (Serv/Reg# 116506) can be viewed/downloaded in pdf format through Library and Archives Canada.
Burial information is available at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
A memorial page honouring Winterbottom can be visited online at the Canadian Virtual War Memorial.
Pte. Winterbottom is among those commemorated on the Kamloops Cenotaph in Memorial Hill Park, Kamloops, B.C., as are ten of the other identified soldiers in the collection: L/Cpl. Robert Roy Brown, Spr. Frank Alexander Busteed, Pte. Wilfred Albert Duck, 2/Lt. Ralph Vyvian Gordon, Pte. Frederick Lee, 2/Lt. Walter Josiah Pearse, Pte. Ernest Pemberton, Cpl. J. Dallas Slavin, Lt. William Elmer Tait, and Pte. Alfred Lewis Wain.
External links for other identified soldiers in the Winterbottom letters & photos:
L/Cpl. Charles Henry Irwin Akehurst, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/01/19. Serv/Reg# 687251
Pte. Arthur Trelawney Batchelor, 172nd Bn. & 18th C.M.G. Coy., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/04/03. Serv/Reg# 688066
Cpl. Harry Trelawney Batchelor, 54th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/08/11. Serv/Reg# 443171
L/Cpl. Robert Roy Brown, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/07/24. Serv/Reg# 688280
Spr. Frank Alexander Busteed, 11th C.M.R., 54th Bn. & 4th C. Div. Signal Coy., enlisted at Vernon 1915/07/15, service number changed with transfer to 54th Bn. in November 1915. Serv/Reg# 116505 & 443172
Pte. Harry Warren Campbell, 29th Bn., enlisted at Vancouver 1915/03/24. Serv/Reg# 76273
Lt. Frank Charles Clark, 172nd Bn & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/01/01. Serv/Reg# 687005
Pte. Francis Arthur Dempster, 11th C.M.R. & 7th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/07/15. Serv/Reg# 116507
Pte. Rupert Morley Duck, 172nd Bn. & 54th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/03/24. Serv/Reg# 688016
Pte. Wilfred Albert Duck, 172nd Bn. & 54th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/03/24. Serv/Reg# 688015
Capt. Eber Akin Dunfield, 1st Div. Ammo. Park, 1st Bn. & M.H.Q. Ottawa, enlisted at Valcartier 1914/09/22. Serv/Reg# 37064
Pte. Donald Scotney George, 11th C.M.R. & 7th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1915/07/15. Serv/Reg# 116508
2/Lt. Ralph Vyvian Gordon, 88th Bn., 25th Bn., & British Royal Air Force, enlisted at Victoria 1915/11/08. Serv/Reg# 180779
Pte. (& R.A.F. Cadet) Douglas Moncrieff Goudie, 48th Bn., 3rd C.P. Bn., 25th Bn. & 29th Bn., enlisted at Victoria 1915/04/12. Serv/Reg# 430974. Joined the British Royal Air Force, 1918/07/25.
Lt. Norman Goudie, DFC, British Royal Flying Corps (2nd Lt. 1916/04/22, Lt. 1917/06/01).
L/Cpl. John Percy Greenhouse, C.A.S.C. & 127th Bn., enlisted at Shorncliffe, Kent, England, 1916/10/02. Ser/Reg# 3663
Pte. Paul William Jarvis Harmon, 62nd Bn., 48th Bn., 3rd C.P. Bn. & 7th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/07/31. Serv/Reg# 463629
Pte. Gordon Walker Harper, C.A.M.C., enlisted at Vernon 1915/07/24. Serv/Reg# 400122
Lt. Noel George Harper, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/04/17. Serv/Reg# 688126
Pte. Senior Heaton, 172nd Bn. & 11th C.M.R., enlisted at Vancouver 1916/02/18. Serv/Reg# 687724
Lt. Herbert Jefferis, C.A.M.C. & 29th Bn., enlisted at Calgary 1915/05/01. Serv/Reg# 50597
Captain & Chaplain Alexander Ketterson, 80th Bn. & 6th Bde., commissioned 1915/11/02. Serv/Reg# not assigned
Pte. Frederick Lee, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/03/13. Serv/Reg# 687931
Pte. Robert Stephen MacKay, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/04/03. Serv/Reg# 688061
Pte. Wilfred McKinnon Maclean, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1916/07/06. Serv/Reg# 688263
Pte. Gordon Alexander McArthur, 172nd Bn. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Kamloops 1916/02/10. Serv/Reg# 687610
2/Lt. Walter Josiah Pearse, MC, Z Bty. 5th Bde., Royal Horse Artillery, B.E.F. No Canadian service record; Canadian Virtual War Memorial page.
Pte. Ernest Pemberton, 54th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/11/11. Serv/Reg# 443183
Cpl. J. Dallas Slavin, 11th C.M.R. & 47th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/07/15. Serv/Reg# 116504
Pte. Percy Wiggett Spaulding, 11th C.M.R. & 29th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/08/20. Serv/Reg# 116551
Lt. William Elmer Tait, 158th Bn. & 7th Bn. Serv/Reg# not assigned
Pte. Adrian Cracroft Thrupp, 11th C.M.R. & 29th Bn., enlisted at Vernon 1915/08/20. Serv/Reg# 116579
Lt. Desmond Odlum Vicars, DSO; 11th C.M.R., 172nd Bn., 72nd Bn., enlisted with 11th C.M.R 1915/03/08, and was appointed as Lt. to the 172nd Bn. 1916/02/02. Serv/Reg# 687308
Pte. Alfred Lewis Wain, 172nd Bn. & 2nd C.M.R., enlisted at Vernon 1915/11/06. Serv/Reg# 687786
*On date of birth: Winterbottom’s year of birth is recorded throughout his military records as 1896, but is more likely to be 1895 – this is the year recorded in the 1901 Census of Canada records and is supported by other family particulars such as his sister Helen’s birth in May of 1887.
Collection reviewed/updated October 2022: Four additional letters, thirteen photographs, and five personal items have been added, as well as a reference guide to other soldiers in the Winterbottom letters. Transcriptions have been reviewed and transcription errors corrected as needed. Some content descriptions and annotations have been added or expanded to provide more information, including the main Collection Description.]