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Samuel Siviter, 1836. Halesowen, Balaclava, Inkerman.
Now here's a little tale thats at least partly right, but owing to the unreliability of " family stories " , I don't know if the last part is correct. Samuel Siviter, was born in Halesowen, Shropshire, in the later part of May or the early part of June,1836. ( Or it could even be 1835, for families of the time were often short of money for Baptism's) His date for the Baptism is 23rd June,1836, in Saint John The Baptist, the Parish Church. His fathers name was Benjamin Siviter, and he was listed in 1841, as a nailer, and if you havn't guessed, as poor as a typical church mouse. The area was regulary visted by recruiting parties, so when he reached 18, young Samuel enlisted, signing the papers at Newcastle-under Lyme, Staffordshire, in July 1854. It must have been the uniform that attracted him, bright red coat, polished buttons, and a handsome bearskin hat. Nothing but the best for the Grenadier Guards. Later on that year, War broke out, and he found himself in the Crimea, and all too soon, in the thick of the action at Inkerman. Worse was to follow, for the Guards were then involved at Sevastopol, and in defending a heavy gun emplacement, lost half their Offices and men. They did not however, have anyone taken prisoner, nor did they yield a single foot of ground, although vastly outnumbered. Both actions earned the Grenadier Guards a total of 4 Victoria Cross'es. Back in England, Samuel married a Mary Ann Palmer, born in Bristol, again at Saint John The Baptist, Halesowen, on 25th December,1865. ( it was a very popular date with our ancesters ) Now that family story creeps in, for its reckoned, that as her father was a skilled engineer, she married, as they say, " beneath herself ". The truth is a lot better, for the clue to why, is in her maiden name. She was in fact, the younger sister of Anthony Palmer, also a Grenadier Guardsman, and one of three men who won a Victoria Cross at Inkerman, in the Crimea in September,1854. According to the records, he must have left the Army shortly afterwards, for he is listed as a Nailmaker in 1871, living in Bromsgrove Street, a Coal Pit Labourer in 1881, and a Coal Dealer in Islington, Halesowen, in 1891, where the listing is as a widow, Mary Ann having died in 1890. He is also in the 1901 census, as a general labourer, but no mention of him ever being in the Worcestershire Militia, he died in 1910. I should think he may have had enough of soldiering anyway, after the mayhem and terror of the Crimea. Just for the record, the other two V.Cs at Inkerman were Henry Percy and Charles Russell, and the one at Sevastopol was Alfred Ablett. Samuel Siviter would have known them all, indeed, he had his own medal, with two clasps, to remind him of what they all went through. Anyone with any further information about this brave man, do please contact me, and I will add it to this little tribute.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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