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Commanding Officer PEGASUS: 1947 - 1951

Commander S. W. (Sydney) Hicks, VRD, RNZNVR

Commander S. W. (Sydney) Hicks, VRD, RNZNVR


Commander Sydney Warren Hicks was born in Wellington on 17 July 1911, and was educated at Ngaio Primary School and Wellington College.   In 1928, at the age of seventeen, Commander Hicks joined the Wellington Division of the RNVR (New Zealand Division), and after completing his basic seamanship training, joined the visual signals section of the Communications Branch.   By 1932 he had obtained the rank of Yeoman of Signals (Petty Officer), and later that year was commissioned as an Acting Sub Lieutenant.


Some four years later, the then Lieutenant Hicks was transferred in his civilian occupation, of a wholesale soft-goods importer, to Christchurch and at the same time transferred from the Wellington Division to the Canterbury Division of the RNVR, where he immediately became the Division’s Communications Officer.   During this period of his Naval Career, he frequently took command of the Division’s training cutter, RNVRTC Deveron for training cruises.


The then Lieutenant Hicks was mobilised for active war service on 2 September 1939, and appointed to HMS PHILOMEL III, Navy Office Lyttelton, where he remained until the end of 1939.   On New Years Day 1940 he joined HMS LEANDER for a two week training period before joining HMS MONOWAI, eventually becoming MONOWAI’s Communications Officer.   After serving on MONOWAI for nearly two years, he was promoted to Lieutenant Commander and appointed to HMNZS PHILOMEL as the Port Signals Officer (4 April 1942).


An appointment to HMNZS SCARBA, in command, came in 1944, and he remained in this ship until a posting to the UK for further training at HM Ships VICTORY, EAGLET and PRESIDENT.   Following this advanced training, he was appointed to the corvette HMS HYDRANGA in early 1945, before taking command of the frigate HMS EXE serving with the Pacific Fleet.   With the war coming to an end, he was posted to HMNZS COOK for a period of two months, and then to PHILOMEL for demobilisation on 28 February 1946.


With the post war activation of the Royal New Zealand Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNZNVR), he was promoted to Commander and given command of HMNZS PEGASUS (formally the Canterbury Division of the RNVR), effective 1 July 1946.   He remained in command until 31 August 1952 when he took up a short term commission with the RNZN as a Lieutenant Commander, and was posted Staff Officer HMNZS PEGASUS.   After his appointment to HMNZS PHILOMEL II (as the Christchurch position was then known) he was appointed to HMNZS WAKEFIELD (Navy Office Wellington), serving for a short period only from 14 to 23 November, before proceeding to Melbourne, Australia to take up the position of Deputy RNZN Liaison Officer from 24 November 1955 until 6 August 1956, when he became the RNZN Liaison Officer.   A position he held until 2 April 1960.


His next move was back was back to NZ to become Deputy of the Defence Secretariat fro 2 May 1960 to 2 April 1962.   From there he moved to the Fleet Work Study Team.   Retirement from the Navy cam on 31 December 1968, but the love of the sea still remained, so he purchased a fishing vessel and went fishing out of Auckland.   Commander Hicks died on 1 July 1992.


For his service, he was awarded the 1939-45 Star, the Atlantic Star, the Pacific Star, the War Medal, The NZ War Medal, and the Volunteer Reserve Decoration.

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