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Naval Officer QSA HMS Sybille

Queen’s South Africa, no bar, Carpenter William Pibworth, HMS Sybille, A Commissioned Officer of the Royal Navy, also Shipwright Lieutenant, a Portsmouth Royal Navy Family.

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Origin: United Kingdom
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Queen’s South Africa, no bar, Carpenter William Pibworth, HMS Sybille, A Commissioned Officer of the Royal Navy, also Carpenter Lieutenant in WW1, rose from Shipwright since 1890.


Officially engraved in Officer Style: “Carp. W. Pibworth. R.N. H.M.S. Sybille.”


Confirmed on the medal roll, the only “Carpenter” medal of HMS Sybille, as it is a unique rating for the Standing Officer in command of the entire Carpenter’s Team responsible for keeping the ship afloat.


About 272 Medals issued to HMS Sybille, he later saw some home service, being in his 50s during WW1, for which he was issued the British War Medal named to him as a Commissioned Shipwright.
He was unfit by this point for active service, being retired in October 1914, but was brought back in July 1918 for service on the Staff at Southampton of the PNTO Principal Naval Transport Officer, for the next 2 years he saw service and upon his return to retirement in November 1920, he was commended by his officer who wished to “express his appreciation for his very efficient services.”


William Pibworth was born at Portsea Island, Portsmouth on 9th July 1865.


It is interesting to note that the Pibworth family had been living by the seaside in Portsmouth for over 100 years, and had been in the Royal Navy for many years.


His older Brother, Henry Pibworth (Born 1858) would similarly join the Royal Navy, and also rise to the impressive similar “Standing Officer” rank of Boatswain (Bosun) 1st Class.


His mother Sophia (Born 1824) would be left alone most of the time to raise the two future Royal Navy boys, as their Father also a Henry Pibworth, was similarly off at Sea with the Royal Navy.


Amazingly his father Henry Pibworth (born 1822) was also a respected commissioned Boatswain of the Royal Navy, fortunately for William his retirement was finally coming up around 1871 when William was about 6 years old.


Typically Shipwrights and those who would rise to become a ship’s Carpenter, began their career in the Dockyard, building ships from scratch and effecting repairs, so by this point, being a Portsmouth local he could have been working on ship’s for almost 10 years, as a typical apprentice would of this kind would usually be around 16 years old.


On 11th November 1890, Having already worked for some years in a Civilian capacity as a Shipwright, he first attested for service with the Royal Nay, as a RN Shipwright on HMS Asia.


For the next 8 years he would consistently graded as “Very Good” and rose through the ratings.


Joining HMS Daphne from 2nd April 1893 – 28th March 1895, shortly after joining the ship he was made Leading Shipwright on 4th July 1893.


At HMS Victory II, he was promoted to Carpenter’s Mate on 28th February 1896.


Barely 2 years later on 14th June 1898, he was further assessed and granted a “Standing Officer” Commission at HMS Victory II to the respected rating of Carpenter.


At the time a Carpenter, was the ceiling for what a “Common Man” in the Shipwright department could rise to, they were highly respected as the most senior of the crew, heading the Carpenter’s Team they were answerable to the Captain in regards to the physical upkeep of the ship.


Standing Officer’s (the Boatswain, Carpenter and Gunner) had the advantage of being permanently stationed on a ship, which means they still received their full pay whilst the ship was laid up and under maintenance, whereas the regular Officers and the Crew would typically be discharged for these periods and lose their income if they did not find another ship to switch over to.


For the next 12 years of his career, he would solely be graded as “Very Good” character, each assessment by his various Captains would be glowing with praise, almost each ends with “Strongly recommended for Advancement.”
Each officer would mentioned how he was “Very Zealous & Hardworking” had “Good Judgement” being particularly noted for a “Very Good Physique”


He was stationed as Carpenter on the following Vessels:


HMS Active, 22nd October 1898 – 19th Feb 1900
Sybille, 20th Feb 1900 – 28th March 1901
HMS Fox, 15th April 1901 – December 1904
HMS Cressy, 8th Feb 1905 – 5th March 1906
HMS berwick, 6th March 1906 – 2nd Sept 1908
Berwick still from 3rd Sept 1908 until 31st March 1909, until paying off.
HMS Achiles, 11th May 1909 – 5th June 1910.
HMS Naiad, 14th November 1911 – 16th Sept 1913
HMS Hawke, 16th September 1913 – 1st August 1914.


With the outbreak of WW1, he was turning 50 years old soon and was sent for a Survey at Haslar Hospital to see if he was still fit enough to take on duty with the Naval Transport Service, but he was found to be unfit for active service.


He was reassessed during the war likely eager to still service in some capacity. He had been officially pensioned off as unfit on 28th October 1914.


He was however brought back on, from 2nd July 1918 to 1st December 1920, at HMS President II as “An Additional for the Staff of PNTO at Southampton.”


After which he “Reverted to the retired list on 1st December 1920, *** expresses his appreciation of his very efficient services, dated 17th Nov 1920.”


William lived many more years to received his pension, witnessing the whole of WW2, before he died in Portsmouth during 1950 aged about 85 years old.


A wholesome announcement in the local Portsmouth Evening News, of 4th Dec 1937, notes his enviable Golden Wedding of 50 years.


On December 4th, 1887, at St Luke’s Church, Southsea, by the Rev B.D. Aldwell, William Pibworth to Mary Annie Knee, their Present Address, St Martyns, Mayland Road, Bedhampton Hants.”


The Portsmouth Evening News, 1st February 1951:




All persons having claims against the estate of William Pibworth, late of St Martyns, 26 Maylands Road, Bedhampton, Nr Havant, Hants, Shipwright Lieutenant of the Royal Navy