A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Sydney George Whitelock -


Stoker 1st Class P/K 60326 Sydney George Whitelock, Royal Navy


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

STOKER 1st CLASS SYDNEY GEORGE WHITELOCK was born at Christchurch in Hampshire on 11th November 1904, the son of William and Alice Whitelock, but the family moved to the Island when he was still a baby, first living at Calbourne but subsequently moving to Albert Street, Newport. Little is known of Sydney's schooldays but it is believed that after moving to Newport he attended the Nodehill School there. The family moved again, this time to Fitzroy Street, Sandown, Mr Whitelock Senior having obtained a job at Sandown Gas Works where Sydney having left school also took a job.

On attaining the age of 18 in 1922 Sydney joined the Royal Navy as a stoker on a twelve year engagement. The following year at the age of 19 he married May Squibb of Sandown.

Sydney Whitelock served in a number of ships during his career in the Navy including the aircraft carrier H.M.S. Argus, the cruiser H.M.S. Calcutta and the 'Arabis' class sloop H.M.S. Valerian. He was serving on the last named ship on the West Indies Station in 1927 when she foundered during a hurricane. he revelled in the life of a Service man in peacetime and excelled in most sports including boxing and athletics at which he won numerous trophies. In 1934 he was serving on the cruiser H.M.S. Durban and although then 30 years of age he was still able to hold his own at various athletic meetings staged during the ship's visit to South African ports.

Sydney left the Navy at the end of his engagement in 1934 and took up residence with his family in Alverstone Road, Apse Heath, having obtained a job as a lorry driver at Rookley Brickworks. Sydney's parents had had a bungalow built in Forest Road, Winford, one of the first to be erected along the eastern end of the road and in 1937 he followed suit having a bungalow 'Wilmount' built in Forest Road into which he moved with his wife and two daughters. He was a cheerful man with a ready smile and was respected in the area as a thoroughly decent hard-working neighbour. He played football for the village team at Apse Heath but his great love was dancing at which he was expert and although a well-built man he was light on his feet.

At the outbreak of War Sydney Whitelock, as a reservist, was called back to the Navy and joined H.M.S. Exmouth, an 'E' class destroyer, which through the early months of the War was constantly engaged in convoy duties including a number of trips to the Mediterranean. He was able to get home for 48 hours leave early in December 1939 and that was the last time his family was to see him. On 21st January 1940 H.M.S. Exmouth hit a mine whilst on escort work in the North Sea and was lost with all her crew.

SYDNEY GEORGE WHITELOCK became the first casualty amongst the servicemen of this Parish in World War II and the tragic loss inflicted on one little family in our midst can well be measured by the daughter's vivid memory, some forty years later, of the policeman's call at the door in the early hours of the morning to break the grim news, and the coldness and misery of the days that followed.
From the CWGC record :

Son of William and Alice Whitelock; husband of D. M. Whitelock, of Eastfield, Ryde, Isle of Wight.

Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, Hampshire.

CWGC record ...

Isle of Wight County Press, 3 February 1940

Isle of Wight County Press, 10 February 1940


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