Remembering Lieutenant Sidney Darling
The following is part of a continuing series of profiles of servicemen from the Glebe and St. Matthew’s Anglican Church who gave their lives to Canada and the pursuit of peace in the Second World War. We commemorate and remember their passing 80 years ago.
By Kevan Pipe
Not all of the 60,000 Canadians lost during the Second World War were killed on the battlefields of Europe or Asia or on the seas or in the air. This is the story of one young Glebe resident who died while training for combat.
Sidney Darling was born June 9, 1920, in Regina, son of Herbert and Mary Darling. Both his parents came to Canada from England and eventually had four children – daughters Jeannette and Margaret were followed by Sidney and a younger brother. His father was in the RCMP and moved to Ottawa in 1931. They resided for four years at 28 Clemow Avenue and the family became members of St. Matthew’s Anglican Church. Sidney attended Glebe Collegiate and achieved his junior matriculation in 1935.
With frequent moves a common feature of life in the RCMP, the family went to Vancouver for two years and then to Lethbridge, Alberta in 1937 where Sidney finished his high-school studies at Lethbridge Collegiate. After high school, Sidney returned to Regina and, following in his father’s footsteps, joined the RCMP in 1939 as a 19-year-old recruit sub constable. The family returned to Ottawa in 1943, with Herbert assuming the post of superintendent, eventually rising to become assistant commissioner of the RCMP.
Just two months after his 21st birthday, on August 16, 1941, Sidney enlisted in the Canadian Artillery, assuming the rank of lieutenant with the 4th Field Regiment. Over the next 17 months, he underwent intensive training at various locations across Canada, starting in Moosomin, Saskatchewan as a bombardier. In November, he was transferred to Lac Megantic, Quebec for further training, then back to western Canada in 1942.
His regiment was sent overseas, finally arriving in England on December 31, 1942, and it was assigned to the 2nd Canadian Infantry Division. Intensive training continued in England during winter and spring 1943.
Unfortunately, like thousands of other soldiers during the war, Sidney became seriously ill. On May 26, 1943, Sidney’s father, now superintendent of the RCMP, received a cable from Canadian military headquarters in England. He was advised that Sidney had his appendix removed but was “dangerously ill” and had severe complications from appendicitis.
Eighty years ago this month, on June 7, 1943, at Builth Brecknock Medical Centre in Wales, Lt. Sidney Darling succumbed to a pulmonary embolism, two days before his 23rd birthday.
Darling is remembered at St. Matthew’s, The Anglican Church in the Glebe. He is buried, alongside 2,400 other Canadians and many other Commonwealth servicemen, at Brookwood Military Cemetery in Surrey, England, 50 kilometres from London.
Kevan Pipe is a Glebe resident and member of St. Matthew’s, The Anglican Church in The Glebe.
PHOTO: THE MAPLE LEAF LEGACY PROJECT