On 31 October 1917 Sidney Alfred Maddison was killed in the Battle of Beersheba in Palestine. Sidney was one of 31 Australians who died that day, and the only person from the Orange district to die in that conflict.
Sidney was born in Orange in 1882 to John and Elizabeth Maddison. John and Elizabeth were early settlers in Orange; during the 1860s John worked as a carrier for Dalton Brothers. After 25 years’ employment with the company John retired to Manildra.
Sidney was educated at Manildra Public School. Following John’s death in January 1904 the family moved to Elderslie, near Camden, where Sidney found work as a station manager.
In July 1915 Sidney and his brother John, a veteran of the Boer War, enlisted in Liverpool. Both were assigned to the 1st Light Horse Regiment, 12th Reinforcement; the brothers embarked together and served together in Egypt and Palestine.
The 1st Light Horse Regiment was involved in several conflicts during 1917: the Battle of Romani, the Second Battle of Gaza and the Battle of Beersheba. On 31 October 1917 Sidney was driving a supply wagon during the Battle of Beersheba when a bomb landed nearby, killing Sidney and several horses.
Sidney Alfred Maddison is commemorated on Manildra Soldiers Memorial Hall Honour Roll, St Luke’s Church Manildra Honour Roll, Manildra Rifle Club Honour Roll and on panel number 2 on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
There is also a monument in Meranburn Cemetery at Manildra that is inscribed:
In loving memory of
Sydney Alfred Maddison
Killed in action in Palestine
31 October 1917
A young life nobly ended
Too far away for sight or speech
But not too far for thoughts to match
Peace Perfect Peace
Sidney’s brother John Ernest Maddison was declared medically unfit and discharged from the AIF in April 1918.