A recent item brought into the Repair Shop on the BBC was a wooden military chest that had belonged to Corpl. Sidney Tuffrey of the 1st Oxfordshire Light Infantry. Just a few days earlier I had been researching the connections between the Oxfordshire Tuffreys and the Bustins, and this Sidney, born in 1865, was a first cousin three times removed. What further research revealed was that he had married Sophia Maltby who was a great great aunt; at their wedding in Islip in 1893 the witnesses were Edwin Bustin (great grandfather) and his wife Emily (née Maltby), Sophia’s sister, and our great grandmother. Sidney and Sophia were first cousins sharing grandparents Edward Terry and Charlotte Goldby. Sidney had joined the Oxfordshire Light Infantry on the 17th March 1886; born in Bletchingdon, he gave his age as 18 years and 6 months, and his occupation as Labourer. Most of his 16 years and 43 days of military service were spent at home, and he was transferred as a corporal to the Reserve in 1893, the year he married. He was re-engaged in 1898 and posted to South Africa in January 1900 to fight in the Anglo-Boer War, and finally discharged from the service in April 1902. He had trained in Mounted Infantry duties and gained a certificate at Aldershot in 1888, and was also awarded 3rd and 2nd class certificates of education; his character was said to be “Very Good” and “Exemplary”. He was paid a War Gratuity of £7 10s and awarded the South African 1900-01 medal - the Queen’s South Africa medal, with the Cape Colony clasp. According to Wikipedia the 1st Battalion “saw extensive service in the conflict, including in the relief of the besieged British garrison at Kimberley and in the defeat of the Boers at Paardeberg in February”. With Sophia he had three children: Trevor Sidney, who died in the First World War in what is now Iraq, and two daughters, Lavinia Emeline and Violet Maud. Sophia died in 1945, and Sidney, who survived a serious gas explosion in Wokingham in 1925 - he was working as a gardener at Wokingham Rectory, walked into the kitchen, lit a match and was blown across the room, suffering burns and other injuries - died in 1961 at the age of 95. The Coroner recorded a verdict of death by misadventure; Sidney had apparently been carrying a coal-scuttle down a short flight of stairs at his home in Wokingham when he tripped and fell, injuring his head; he died in hospital five days later. Sidney’s service record can be found on FindMyPast (subscription required) as can the newspaper reports of his accident and the inquest into his death.
Sidney Tuffrey 1865-1961