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P/JX 163703 A/B Pinnock S C

Sidney Pinnock left Hungerford in 1937 at the age of thirteen when his father took up a new post in service on the Isle of Wight. His father formerly worked as a butler for the Turners at Hungerford Park.

Sidney finished his schooling at Sandown and went into the Navy as a Boy Entrant in February 1939, first to HMS St Vincent at Portsmouth and then to HMS St George on the Isle of Man, where he undertook a telegraphist course during 1939-40.

His first ship was HMS Fiji, a destroyer, and it was on this ship during the Battle of Crete in 1941 that Fiji and other ships involved in the evacuation of the island was sunk by enemy bombers. Sidney survived, being picked up from the sea after four hours and taken to Alexandria. He returned to his home on the Isle of Wight to recover. He was then posted to the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, serving in the Indian Ocean. It was now 1942 and his ship was active all around the Ocean and was often in Bombay.

Ceylon was occupied by the Allies and Formidable put into Colombo.

Due to the shortage of telegraphists, Sidney was transferred to the Free French Ship, Commodore Duboc. He wrote home saying that he was not happy with this ship as he was the only Englishman on board and that standards were not as high as on the ships of the Royal Navy! He was later joined by four other Englishmen which improved life for him but it may have been due to his dislike of the ship that he volunteered for Special Duties and returned to Alexandria in October 1943. Because of these Special Duties, little is known of what happened during this period but it appears he joined up with members of the Long Range Desert Group.

On September 8 1943, Italy surrendered to the allies and on the 15th British troops landed on the island of Kos. The LRDG and members of the Special Boat Squadron, with whom Sidney now found himself, supported by 11th Parachute Battalion led the way for the 1st Durham Light Infantry. Leros and Samos were taken on the 16 September, much to the disgust of Eisenhower, who thought that these actions were no more than a sideshow and that these islands could be left until other more important objectives were taken.

It is believed that A/B Sidney Pinnock was killed in action with the SBS Group on one of the beaches on Leros, when the Germans re-took the island on 16 November.

He has no known grave. His name is listed on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

(Richard Amphlett)
(With thanks also to Mrs Anne Pinnock)

Photo Gallery:

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- Sidney Pinnock (second from right) in a family group