Sidney Pinchin was born in Enford, Wilts on 26th January 1892 to Sidney and Hannah Pinchin.
He was the oldest of eleven children and by the age of nine was living in Vines Farm, Kidmore, Oxon where his father was a stockman.
In October 1903 the family moved to Westbury Farm Cottages in Purley and Sidney and his siblings transferred to Purley Church of England School.
He attended until his 14th birthday, in 1906, when he left to start work.
Sidney was a resident of Westbury, Wiltshire when he joined the army at Caversham.
His enlistment date is unknown, but Sidney was a regular soldier and served in the 8th (King's Royal Irish) Hussars prior to the First World War.
At the time of the 1911 census Sidney was a private and stationed at barracks in Butt Road, Colchester.
During the war his family lived in Chain Cottages, Hurst.
The 8th Hussars were stationed in India at the outbreak of war and immediately sailed for France as part of the Ambala Cavalry Brigade.
They landed at Marseilles on 10th August 1914 and Sidney's medal card shows that he went to France on 16th August 1914.
This may indicate that he had previously completed his service in the colours and was called up from the reserve to rejoin his regiment when the army mobilised.
The 8th Hussars joined the 1st Indian Cavalry Division and entered the trenches on the Western Front for the first time at Givenchy on the 9th December 1914.
The majority of their time was spent in working parties undertaking fatigues such as digging trenches, and this continued for the whole span of the war.
The cavalry was being held in reserve, waiting for "the gap" to be created in the enemy's lines that they could exploit in the traditional way.
There were many times when this was anticpated but rarely were they called into action on horseback.
The Germans launched the
Second Battle of Ypres
in May 1915, using gas for the first time to achieve a breakthrough which the 8th Hussars helped to contain.
Then in September 1915 the Ambala Cavalry Brigade transferred to the 2nd Indian Cavalry Division and fought with distinction at the
Battle of Flers-Courcelette
in 1916 and during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line in spring of 1917.
It was later in the year that Sidney Pinchin lost his life during the
Battle of Cambrai.
The 8th Hussars were ordered forward to stem a German counter-attack and the War Diary describes the events:
30th November 1917|
Received orders at 9.30a.m. to move at once in a Northerly direction.
Saddles and wagons had to be packed and dump made.
Regiment paraded and reached Brigade Starting Point by 11a.m.
Brigade trotted to VILLERS FAUCON where we halted for ½ hour.
Moved on at 1.30p.m. with orders to clear up the situation towards GAUCHE WOOD.
Moving through North West edge of EPEHY.
C Squadron — as advanced Guard — soon came under heavy machine gun fire from sunken road near CHAPEL CROSSING and was unable to get on.
Lt T C WATSON on patrol from A Squadron was hit.
C.O. ordered Major RYDER to take his Squadron (A) on GAUCHE WOOD.
On crossing the skyline they came under heavy shell and machine gun fire from CHAPEL CROSSING and GAUCHE WOOD.
The squadron occupied the sunken road 1000x west of the wood.
Patrols sent out on GAUCHE WOOD again came under heavy machine gun fire.
Major RYDER was killed and 16 other Ranks killed and wounded.
By 3p.m. Lt. STANDLAND, who had assumed command, held the sunken road west of GAUCHE WOOD with 15 men with 9th Hodson's Horse on his right, and repelled a heavy counter-attack of the enemy debouching from GAUCHE WOOD.
The C.O. having withdrawn C squadron from the right, led the Regiment across the PERONNE-HEUDICOURT railway and moved via the North-West corner of GENIN WELL COPSE (where several casualties were caused by shrapnel and high explosives) in a North-East direction on GAUCHE WOOD.
Again came under heavy shell fire on crossing the ridge and being held up by wire, it became necessary to turn South-West and reform by the main GOUZEAUCOURT road about 600x north of REVELON FARM.
Regiment moved to South-West corner of GENIN WELL COPSE and dismounted about 3p.m. and moved up in support of A Squadron.
C Squadron ordered to reconnoitre towards GAUCHE WOOD but came under heavy fire from the railway and CHAPEL CROSSING and withdrew to the sunken road after repeated attempts.
18th Lancers relieved the Regiment about 9 p.m.
Withdrew for the night to the valley west of GENIN WELL COPSE. |
Casualties during the day — 5 men killed, 30 wounded and 3 missing.
Animal casualties — killed 20 horses and 1 mule, wounded 21 horses, missing 32 horses and 3 mules.
Sidney Pinchin was one of those wounded in the fighting on 30th November 1917.
It appears that Sidney was evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station at Ytres where he died of his wounds the next day.
Sidney was twenty-five years of age and now rests in a Commonwealth war grave in
Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery,
about six miles west of the battlefield.
On the day that Sidney was wounded,
also died of wounds in a Casualty Clearing Station at Ytres and he is buried in the same cemetery.
The next day
was wounded at nearby Gonnelieu and taken prisoner, only to die in captivity on 15th December 1917.