William Arthur Pinnock


This biography was written by Victoria Doran.

This is an unusual example of a man commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial who is not recognised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission as a war death. Fortunately we know where and when he died from his entry in the Book of Remembrance.
William A Pinnock BR entry jpg.jpg

William Arthur Pinnock was born early in 1885 in Buckley, Flintshire, Wales the first child of Tom ‘Mostyn’ Pinnock (1846-1916) and his second wife Caroline Jones (1849-1910). He was followed by 2 sisters, Jane Eleanor (1886-1948) and Beatrice Mary (1889-1958) and a brother James Hughes Pinnock (1891-1943).

Tom ‘Mostyn’ Pinnock was born in Newbury, Berkshire the only child to survive to the age of 6 years of Thomas Pinnock (1819-1895), a leather dresser in the glove industry and his somewhat older wife Mary Norris (1810-1880). Mary was a glover before her marriage, as was her father William Norris. Neither family was well off, but Thomas Pinnock managed to leave £104 when he died in his mid 70s having been retired for some years.

Tom ‘Mostyn’ Pinnock was registered as plain Tom Pinnock. It is not known when he adopted the name Mostyn, by which he was known in later years. From here on he will be referred to as Mostyn Pinnock. He had started work as a grocer’s errand boy in Newbury by the age of 14. At the same age he was converted to Primitive Methodism at the Sunday School in Newbury. Primitive Methodists thought themselves ‘purer’ than Wesleyan Methodists and were more evangelical, believing in rallies and outdoor meetings. A lad of ability, he was preaching by the age of 16 and became a Minister at the age of only 21.

In the summer of 1870 he married Louisa Dover Blyth (1840-1882) in Guildford, Surrey. Louisa was the daughter of a linen draper in Newbury, and had lived in the same street as the Pinnock family. Sadly they were not blessed with any children. Mostyn ministered in Wiltshire until he was promoted to Superintendent Minister in Swindon in 1877. The following year he moved to Oxford, becoming a University student of classics and mathematics as well as working as a minister. Circumstances, probably including Louisa’s death in 1882, forced him to leave Oxford before taking his degree, and he moved to North Wales where he married William’s mother in the summer of 1883.

Caroline Jones was the daughter of James Hughes Jones (1824-1882) a master shoemaker in Mold, Flintshire, Wales. The life of a Primitive Methodist minister involved frequent moves and they lived in Manchester, Wandsworth, Birkenhead (twice) , the Isle of Man and Leek, Staffordshire over the next 27 years. Mostyn was much in demand as a preacher far and wide. For instance whilst minister in Birkenhead in 1900 he preached at Blackburn on 20 May and Chester on 23 May. During this period he was Secretary and then President of the Free Church Council.

In 1902 his health broke down and he retired for a while, returning to work in Birkenhead in 1907. They moved to Leek, Staffordshire about 1910, where Caroline died. On 18 December 1911 Mostyn married for a 3rd time, this time to a widow Hannah (Mellor) Redfern who worked as a nurse in Ashton under Lyne Work House Infirmary.

William was brought up in the shadow of a charismatic, very hard working father under the strict life of Primitive Methodism. No doubt he and his siblings were expected to be models to his father’s congregations.

By 1901 William was working as a bank clerk, and in early 1911 he married Daisy Leila Windsor (1886-1972) in Birkenhead. Daisy was the youngest child of George Windsor (1843-1903) who had risen from a humble agricultural background in Broxton, Cheshire to become a master fruiterer in Grange Road, Birkenhead.

In 1911 William and Daisy were living in Liscard, but moved to Newton some time thereafter, most probably after 1913 as he is not recorded in the  Kelly’s directory for 1914. They had no children.

As William’s service record has not survived we do not know when he joined the Motor Transport division of the Army Service Corps (renamed the Royal Army Service Corps in 1918), but it must have been after his father’s death in August 1916 at Douglas, Isle of Man.

Army Service Corps cap badge.jpg

Army Service Corps cap badge

At his father’s funeral, his brother James was reported to be in uniform, but William was not.

William died in Hoylake Cottage Hospital on 2 April 1920 suffering from an illness due to his service in Mesopotamia. He had risen to become a Lance-Corporal and was 35 years old. It is not known where he is buried. He left nearly £2,500 to his widow.

Although brought up as a Primitive Methodist, William was a member of Newton Wesleyan Methodist church and he is commemorated on a window dedicated to the 3 men of that congregation who died in the First World War. There was a Primitive Methodist church in Eaton Road, West Kirby that he could have belonged to had he so chosen.

Newton Methodist window.jpg

Memorial Window from Newton Methodist Church, now in West Kirby Methodist Church.

William is also commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial and Frankby War Memorial.

Daisy did not remarry, and none of William’s siblings ever married, so Thomas Pinnock has no living descendants.

William’s brother James served in France from 1915 with the 6th (Liverpool Rifles) Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment. He was wounded in 1916 and left hospital to attend his father’s funeral. Later he returned to France with the 17th (Liverpool Pals) Battalion of his regiment. He ended the war with the rank of Sergeant.

Birth: Jan 1885 at Buckley, Flintshire, Wales
Death: 2 Apr 1920 at Hoylake Cottage Hospital due to illness
Addresses: 2 Marney Road, Battersea, London (91); 20 Radnor Place, Birkenhead (01); 30 Kinnaird Road, Liscard (11); Belgrave Villa, Newton (20)
Occupation: bank clerk
Unit: Motor Transport division, Royal Army Service Corps
Number and Rank: 334241; Lance Corporal
Medals: Victory & British War
Commemorated: Grange Hill War Memorial, West Kirby; Frankby War Memorial, West Kirby Methodist Church
Sources: MC, Census: 91, 01, 11, BR, probate, British Newspaper Archive, www.myprimitivemethodists.org.uk, www.isle-of-man.com


3 thoughts on “William Arthur Pinnock

  1. Correction: Tom “Mostyn” Pinnock was NOT the only child of Thomas Pinnock & Mary Norris. He had an elder brother William Pinnock (1843-1847) and sister Emma Pinnock (1845-1850), her death registration at GRO is recorded as “Emma Pimmick” in error. At the time of the 1851 census Tom and his parents were living with his maternal grandfather William Norris (1774-1857) in his St. Bartholomew’s almshouse in Newbury, “Almshouse” noted in top left of census page, which William had been granted in 1843* . William was from Andover his father James (1739-1811) having also been a glover & breeches maker.

    *Reading Mercury, Saturday 25 March 1843 – Page 2, “At a Meeting of the Trustees of the Newbury Municipal Charities, on Monday, the 20th instant, William Norris and Thomas Savery were presented to the two vacant almshouses at the St. Bartholomew’s Hospital.”

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