John William PIDCOCK MC

PIDCOCK, John William

Service Number: 196
Enlisted: 1 September 1914, Sydney, New South Wales
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 11th Field Artillery Brigade
Born: Tatham, New South Wales, Australia, 24 June 1892
Home Town: Newcastle, Hunter Region, New South Wales
Schooling: Casino Convent and Grammar School
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Died of wounds, France, 5 April 1918, aged 25 years
Cemetery: Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No.1
VI A 25
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Bank of New South Wales Roll of Honour Book, Casino and District Memorial Hospital WW1 Roll of Honour
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World War 1 Service

1 Sep 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Driver, 196, 1st Field Ambulance, Sydney, New South Wales
20 Oct 1914: Involvement Driver, 196, 1st Field Ambulance
20 Oct 1914: Embarked Driver, 196, 1st Field Ambulance, HMAT Euripides, Sydney
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 196, 1st Field Ambulance, ANZAC / Gallipoli
26 Nov 1917: Transferred AIF WW1, 11th Field Artillery Brigade
5 Apr 1918: Involvement Lieutenant
5 Apr 1918: Honoured Military Cross, Villers-Bretonneux

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

JOHN WILLIAM PIDCOCK was born on 24th June, 1893, at Tatham, near Casino, New South Wales, the son of Mr. John William and Mrs. Katie Teresa Pidcock. He was educated at the Convent and Grammar School, Casino. At the age of fifteen (December, 1908) he entered the service of the Bank at Casino, he was removed to Bathurst in the same month, and then to Newcastle, New South Wales, where he remained for about four years. While at Newcastle he passed the Intermediate Examination of the Federal Institute of Accountants. In December, 1913, he was removed to the Head Office of the Bank and employed on the Inspector’s staff, until May, 1914, when he was appointed ledger-keeper at the Surry Hills Branch, Sydney.

John William Pidcock enlisted in the A.I.F. on 1st September, 1914, as a member of the Army Medical Corps. He left Australia with the first contingent for Egypt, and took part in the Gallipoli campaign for about seven months, when he was invalided to England. After a brief stay in the hospital there he recovered and was sent back to Egypt, where in order to be with his brother, he obtained a transfer to the Artillery.

The two brothers were amongst the first Australians sent to France, and John William Pidcock served there until the beginning of 1917, when he was chosen for admission to the Officers’ School. After four months’ study there he succeeded in obtaining a commission, and returned to France to join the 42nd Battery, Australian Field Artillery. With this battery he fought until 5th April, 1918, when he was wounded in an attack near Albert, and died shortly afterwards.

For his gallantry in that action, he was awarded the Military Cross, and the following letter from General Birdwood, dated 29th April, 1918, was written before the General knew that Lieutenant Pidcock was dead:—

Dear Pidcock,

This is a line to most heartily congratulate you upon the Military Cross which has been awarded to you in recognition of your good work during the enemy attack near Albert and Dernancourt on the 5th instant. I know that you displayed marked gallantry and determination in personally carrying orders to the guns of your Battery from the control station for two hours under continual heavy fire at which stage you were wounded. This work was of vital importance to your battery as all communication had been destroyed by the heavy hostile artillery fire.

I trust that your wound has not proved severe and that you are going on well towards recovery.

With good wishes and many thanks for your good service.

Yours sincerely,

Mr. C. R. Geddes, Manager of the Hamilton Branch of the Bank, Newcastle, writes of Lieutenant Pidcock that “he was one of the finest lads that I have known; unassuming to a degree, and as an officer he is not often equalled. A hardened campaigner of nearly five years service, in speaking to me, said of him on the Peninsula that he was indeed wonderful, going out calmly under the most dangerous conditions for the wounded, and remaining bright and cheerful in spite of all the discomfort and hardship there.”

Source - Bank of NSW Roll of Honour

Military Cross

'For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty during a hostile attack. The heavy and accurate fire directed against his battalion cut all wires and interrupted communications between the control station and guns. For two hours he personally carried orders to the guns, from the control station, under continuous and heavy fire, until he was wounded. His gallant work was of vital importance to his battalion, and a splendid example to all ranks during a very strenuous and critical period.
Source: 'Commonwealth Gazette' No. 185
Date: 27 November 1918