J69610 Boy Sailor 1st Class Arthur Pinnock, Royal Navy
Born on 1st October 1901 in Twickenham, Middlesex
Died on 13th February 1987 in Hillingdon, Middlesex
Arthur Pinnock was born in Twickenham, Middlesex, the second of the four children of Edward Henry Pinnock and Ruth née Goldsmith. He was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Twickenham on 17th November 1901.
His brother George Edward Pinnock was born on 19th October 1898, his sister Marjorie May on 22nd June 1908 and his sister Iris Ruth on 17th May 1914.
His father was a Domestic Gardener. In the 1901 Census, the family lived at Fourth Cross Road, Twickenham. They moved to Little Gaddesden in September 1903 when Arthur’s father became Head Gardener to the Hon Alfred Talbot at Little Gaddesden House, after which their address was: The Gardens, Little Gaddesden House.
On 24th April 1906 Arthur started at Little Gaddesden School, aged 4 years 7 months.
He remained at school until 17th September 1915. The School Log Book entry for that day records: “Arthur Pinnock leaves today. He commences at the Navy School at Liscard on Monday.” Aged nearly 14, he was therefore preparing to follow his brother George Pinnock into the Royal Navy.
Joining the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop 7
While still at school, Arthur Pinnock and his older brother George Pinnock both joined the Little Gaddesden Scout Troop at its start, October 26th 1911. Arthur was in the Peewit Patrol, whose Patrol Leader Arthur Whitman was later killed at St Julien on 31st July 1917. George Pinnock was a member of the Lion Patrol, Patrol Leader Henry F (Frank) Johnson. The Scouts first met in the Reading Room at John o’Gaddesden’s House. However, meetings soon moved to the Armoury, at 27 Little Gaddesden, the home of their Scout Master, Harry Temple, who was assisted by 17 year old Bernard Phillips. Miss Bridget Talbot was the Scouts’ President and Mr Humphrey Talbot their Treasurer.
Boy Scouts’ Cook’s Badge – First Prize for Rabbit Stew 7
The Little Gaddesden Scout Diary records that, in Autumn 1912:
14 boys of the LG Troop were examined in the Park at Ashridge for their cook’s badges. Lord Brownlow presented a rabbit apiece to each boy. Fourteen fires were then lit, made up on some bricks + each boy proceeded to skin and boil his rabbit, adding vegetables + dumplings into his stew. The judges on this occasion were Lord Brownlow, Mrs Temple, Mrs Bridle, Mrs Flowers + Mr Jim Rodgers. Mr J Parsons presented 3 prizes for the best 3 saucepans of rabbit stew. Arthur Pinnock won the 1st prize.
We do not know who won 2nd and 3rd prizes, but the diary records that the 14 boys awarded their Cook’s Badge included Albert Basford, Edward Bunn, Francis Green, Gerald Green, Bernard Halsey, Percy Hobbs, Frank Johnson and Archie Wells.
A week off School for the Scout Meeting 6
An entry in the Little Gaddesden School Log Book for 3rd July 1913 notes that 7 Boys had gone to the Boy Scouts Meeting at Birmingham, the headmaster adding ruefully “I believe they will be away the remainder of the week“. Sidney Bellamy, Philip Collier and Arthur Pinnock were among the boys named. Other (unnamed) boys had gone haymaking. “These things stop the work of the School considerably.”
From the Little Gaddesden Scout Diary – August 1914 7
War between England & Germany was declared on Aug 4. The L.G. troop are proud to record that their former Asst Scoutmaster (who had left some time ago to join the Royal Navy) Bernard Phillips is now serving his country on board H.M.S. “Implacable”. George Pinnock is also on H.M.S “Powerful” waiting to go to sea. The Chief Scout has called on all Scouts to be ready to help if they are required & the following have volunteered…
14 names are then listed, including Arthur Pinnock.
The death of Arthur’s brother George Pinnock 8
On 31st May 1916, Arthur’s Brother, J31811 Ordinary Seaman George Edward Pinnock, Royal Navy, was killed during the Battle of Jutland. 17 year old George was then serving aboard HMS Black Prince, which became separated from her sister ships and, in searching for them, stumbled across the entire German battle line. She was sunk with the loss of all hands. George is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
Joining the Royal Navy 1
From 12th April 1917, after leaving the Naval Training Home Liscard, George served as a Boy Sailor, 2nd Class aboard the Boys’ Training Ship HMS Powerful at Devonport. He was then 16 years old, 5 feet 4½ inches tall with a 34½ inch chest and he had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. On 29th June that year he was promoted to Boy Sailor 1st Class.
Between 4th and 17th August 1917, he was briefly posted to HMS Victory I, a Royal Naval shore establishment at Portsmouth. Then, on 18th August 1917, Arthur was one of 19 Boy Sailors who joined HMS Kildonan Castle at Prince’s Dock, Glasgow.
HMS Kildonan Castle was a Castle Line commercial liner, converted for use as a hospital ship in 1915 and then, in 1916, as an Armed Merchant Cruiser. She served with the 10th Cruiser Squadron on the Northern Patrol and in the protection of Central and North Atlantic convoys.
On 25th August 1917, HMS Kildonan Castle left Glasgow on convoy duty en route to Dakar, Senegal, West Africa, which they reached on 3rd September. Two days later, they set sail for Devonport on convoy duty, arriving on 19th September. Convoy duties continued with three voyages to Freetown, Sierra Leone. Christmas Day 1917 was spent at sea, one day out from Sierra Leone, en route back to Glasgow, which they reached on 9th January 1918.
HMS Kildonan Castle remained in Glasgow until 1st February 1918, when she sailed for Brazil. She arrived at Rio de Janeiro on 20th February, proceeded to Santos, Sao Paulo next day and returned to Rio on 24th February. On 13th March, the convoy formed up prior to sailing next day to Avonmouth, which they reached on 16th April. Then, on 5th May, they set off for New York and Halifax, Nova Scotia, returning to Tilbury on 5th June. Two further convoy duty voyages to Halifax followed then one to Quebec, Canada.
On 11th November 1918, HMS Kildonan Castle was in port at Tilbury. On 18th November, she proceeded to Green and Silley Weir Wharf, Royal Albert Dock where she remained until 27th December 1918 when the ship was handed over to the Union Castle Mail Steamship Co Ltd and the ship’s company were paid to 31st December. For his War Service, Arthur was awarded the British War Medal and the Allied Victory Medal.
Men who have answered their country’s call in defence of a “Scrap of Paper”
Arthur Pinnock is named on the Roll of Honour, which hangs in St Peter & St Paul’s Church, Little Gaddesden and lists 119 men from Little Gaddesden, Ringshall and Hudnall who served in the 1914 – 1918 War. His entry reads Pinnock Arthur, Royal Navy. He is similarly shown on the Centenary Revision of the Roll. His brother George Pinnock R.I.P., HMS Black Prince, is also named on both Rolls.
Rolls of Honour photos: Jane Dickson, Michael Carver
Arthur spent the first three months of 1919 at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval barracks at Chatham. Then, on 27th March 1919, he was posted to HMS Danae, a Danae class Light Cruiser, part of the 1st Light Cruiser Squadron serving in the Baltic then, from September 1919, in the Atlantic Fleet.
Arthur Pinnock signed up for a period of 12 years’ engagement in the Royal Navy from his 18th Birthday, 1st October 1919. He continued to serve on HMS Danae and was promoted to Ordinary Seaman on on his 18th Birthday and Able Seaman on 26th February 1920. He left HMS Danae on 14th November 1920, spending 3½ months at HMS Pembroke 1, Chatham.
Arthur served on the following ships with the periods between these dates spent at HMS Pembroke, Chatham.
- 4th March 1921 – 7th April 1921, Able Seaman, HMS Actaeon
- 18th August 1921 – 26th January 1922, Able Seaman, HMS Columbine (Solent)
- 18th August 1922 – 30th December 1924, Able Seaman, HMS Dragon
- 2nd April 1925 – 24th April 1925, Able Seaman, HMS Vesper
- 2nd May 1925 – 3rd September 1925, Able Seaman, HMS Vernon
- 13th October 1925 – 4th January 1926, Able Seaman, HMS Benbow
- 5th January 1926 – 11th May 1928, Leading Seaman, HMS Benbow
- 12th May 1928 – 29th May 1928, Leading Seaman, HMS Iron Duke
- 1st September 1928 – 31st January 1929, Leading Seaman, HMS Pembroke II (Tempest)
- 26th February 1929 – 30th September 1931, Leading Seaman, HMS Enterprise
- 11th November 1931 – 9th January 1933, Leading Seaman, HMS Titania
In 1923 and 1924, Arthur is shown as an Absent Voter at his parents’ address: Gardener’s Cottage, Little Gaddesden, Herts. However, between 1928 and 1931 he is shown at Swakeleys, Ickenham, Uxbridge, Middlesex, then the home of Humphrey Talbot, son of Arthur father’s original Little Gaddesden employer. However, although Electoral Register entries for 1928 – 1930 do not show this, Arthur’s Naval Service indicates that he must have been an Absent Voter of Swakeleys; in 1931 he is shown as such.
Further Promotions 12
Arthur had extended his Naval Service beyond his original 12 year engagement. On 10th January 1933, while at HMS Pembroke I, Chatham, he was promoted to Acting Petty Officer. His subsequent postings were:
- 27th June 1933 – 8th January 1934, Acting Petty Officer, HMS Colombo
- 9th January 1934 – 17th December 1934, Petty Officer, HMS Colombo
- 18th December 1934 – 27th January 1935, Petty Officer, HMS Cumberland
Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal 15
On 30th October 1934 Petty Officer Arthur Pinnock was awarded the Royal Navy Long Service & Good Conduct Medal, while serving on HMS Colombo. He had by then served over 17 years in the Royal Navy. The medal was then presented on 21st February 1935 at HMS Pembroke I, Chatham.
Subsequent Service 12
- 22nd February 1935 – 2nd September 1935, Petty Officer, HMS Vernon
- 15th October 1935 – 23rd April 1937, Petty Officer, HMS Ramillies
In the 3rd Quarter of 1936, Arthur Pinnock married Grace Mary Wilkerson. The marriage was registered in Islington. On completion of his service on HMS Ramillies, Arthur’s service as a Petty Officer was mainly land-based during 1938:
- 12th November 1937 – 1st March 1938, HMS Vernon at Portsmouth
- 2nd March 1938 – 28th November 1938, HMS Pembroke I at Chatham
- 29th November 1938 – 11th January 1939, HMS Pembroke (Anthony) – an A-Class Destroyer
- 12th January 1939 – 27th February 1939, HMS St Angelo (Hotspur) – HMS St Angelo was a shore establishment in Malta; HMS Hotspur was an H-Class Destroyer.
- 28th February 1939 – 8th August 1939, HMS Sussex, a London Class Heavy Cruiser
On 9th August 1939, Arthur was promoted to Chief Petty Officer while serving aboard HMS Sussex, on which he remained until 5th November 1940. In 1939 she was in the South Atlantic during the search for Admiral Graf Spee. In 1940 she returned to the Home Fleet and took part in the Norwegian Campaign, then went into refit at Glasgow, where she was hit by bombs on 17th and 18th September 1940. These caused serious fires, therefore she did not return to service until August 1942.
After almost 2 months at HMS Pembroke I, Chatham, Arthur was posted to HMS Hecla, a Destroyer Depot Ship, on 27th December 1940. It is unclear from Arthur’s Register of Seamen’s Services entry how long he remained serving aboard HMS Hecla. She is the final ship clearly listed for him, from 27th December 1940 and again from 16th October 1941, but he was not on the crew list when she sank off the West coast of Morocco on 11th November 1942.
Below the Hecla entries are two lines: the first reads “Pembroke TAS I (T) C.A.F.O. 55/49“. The second states that he was “Released in Class A (A&S Group No. 8)” on 14th September 1945, from HMS Pembroke.
Arthur and Grace had two daughters: Moira, born in 1945 and Dorothy, born in 1948. Moira’s birth was registered in Chatham and Dorothy’s in Uxbridge. Electoral Registers show Arthur and Grace living at 149 Granville Road, Hillingdon, Middlesex from 1947.
85 year old Arthur Pinnock of 149 Granville Road, Hillingdon, Middlesex died on 13th February 1987. His wife Grace had died in 1982.
6. Little Gaddesden School Log Books 1887 – 1906 and 1906 – 1934
7. Little Gaddesden Scout Diary 1912 – 1922, HALS, Hertford, Acc 3131
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Research, text and (unless otherwise credited) photos: Jane Dickson