The War Graves of Ystradgynlais

Sidney Woodcock

Sidney Woodcock was a Gunner in the Royal Navy serving aboard HMS Curacoa. He was killed on 2nd October 1942 when the cruiser was accidentally rammed and sunk by the liner RMS Queen Mary. Although the Scouts Memorial has his name spelt as Sidney, both the local newspaper reports and the CWGC record the spelling as 'Sydney' as does in their listing of casualties from the Curacoa.

The information on Sidney Woodcock has been compiled from a number of sources, including the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, from the South Wales Voice newspaper, and the Parish Burial Register (courtesy of the Swansea Archives).

NameSidney Woodcock
Date of Death2nd October 1942
Place of DeathOff the coast of Ireland
Age at Death32
Unit and RegimentRoyal Navy
HMS Curacoa
Service Number
Local Memorials Scouts Memorial Trophy, Penrhiwvarteg
NotesSon of William and Amelia Woodcock
Husband of Sarah Ann May Woodcock of Faversham Kent

From the South Wales Voice, 21st November 1942



For many years Mr. William Woodcock and his family lived at Cwmtwrch. Mr. Woodcock worked as a repairer at the Tirbach Colliery, until it closed down, while his son William was employed at the Phoenix Tinplate Works, and another son, Sydney worked as a collier boy at Brynhenllys. Both boys joined the Forces. William entered the Army and was at Malta when the war broke out and he and his family are still there. Sydney joined the Navy and as the result of study and application became a Warrant Officer. His qualifications included gunnery, torpedoing, diving and navigation. His father, who is employed at the Royal Sailors' Home in Chatham, has now been officially notified that Syndey is missing presumed killed on active service. Mr. Woodcock has also received the distressing piece of news that his son William and his wife are in hospital. Old local friends of the father and his sons will join with us in sincere sympathy with him and his surviving son and his wife in Malta.

HMS Curacoa was a Ceres class light cruiser, completed towards the end of the First World War. She served with the main fleet throughout the 1930s and in the Second World War was on escort duty. On 2nd October 1942 she was escorting the liner RMS Queen Mary off the coast of Ireland when a misunderstanding occurred and the two ships suffered a collision, with the much larger Queen Mary ramming and sinking the Curacoa, cutting her in two. Because she was carrying 10,000 American troops, the liner did not stop to try to rescue survivors, and it was only some time later that one of the escort ships came back and did so, managing to save 99 of the crew of 338. Because of the nature of the disaster, the Admiralty did not announce it publically, hence the vague information about cause of death in the newspaper report above.

Read the service history of HMS Curacoa at Wikipedia.


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