Bank: Westminster Bank
Place of work: Eccles branch
Died: 12 April 1942
Henry Holt Siddell was born on 23 July 1918, the son of James Ernest Siddell, a banker, and his wife Anne. In July 1935 he followed in the footsteps of his father and his elder brother James by joining the staff of Westminster Bank, initially at its Liverpool Water Street branch and, from December 1938, at Eccles branch. A bank colleague later recalled that 'his cheery and genial disposition endeared him to all.'
Soon after moving to Eccles Siddell joined the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, and by the time the Second World War broke out in September 1939, he had about 40 hours' flying experience. He was mobilised immediately as a Sergeant Pilot, and after completing his training was commissioned and posted to Coastal Command. His service was chiefly spent in convoy protection and attacks on enemy shipping and submarines around the North Sea to the Bay of Biscay.
In December 1941 Flying Officer Siddell volunteered for the Far East and took out a flight of reinforcement Hudsons to Burma. He was last heard of in Java, and then there was no news of him until the end of the war, when released prisoners of war reported that on 12 April 1942 Siddell and two others had escaped from Glodok camp, Batavia, and attempted to get away by taking a Japanese aircraft from the adjacent airfield in Komajoran. They were recaptured in the aircraft and summarily shot. Flying Officer Siddell was 23 years old. His elder brother James Holt Siddell, also a member of Westminster Bank staff, was killed in action two years later.
Henry Siddell is commemorated on a bank war memorial at NatWest Eccles branch.
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