At some point following the war Sidney relocated to the Isle of Wight and immediately became a prominent member of the Cowes branch of the British Legion, eventually rising to its chairmanship. His retail background enabled him to establish Burchell Bros. sports goods and outfitters of which he was proprietor for around 40 years. In 1938 he married Isabella Elizabeth Cole, 16 years his junior and the Island born daughter of company director George Henry Cole of Crathie, Baring Road, Cowes and his wife Elizabeth. Captain A.M. Fitzpatrick-Robinson was quick to raise a toast to the couple at the next gathering of the Cowes Legion, wishing them every happiness for the future.
The couple settled at a house known as Comrie in Ward Avenue. Throughout the previous two decades the local Press is littered with references to Sidney's tireless support of the Legion, his sporting activities and other extra-curriculur endeavours and it is therefore no surprise that he was one of the earliest to volunteer for a role in the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) in addition to heavily promoting support for the National Service and still earning a living as a sportswear retailer and distributor. Within the ARP he originally served as a warden but his organisational skills were quickly recognised and he was elevated to the role of Senior Controller.
Many years ago when I was researching a particular subject connected to the infamous Cowes Blitz of 4/5 May 1942, I accessed a ledger that comprised the original handwritten log of the ARP Controller. Knowing nothing of Sidney or his story at that time it became apparent, when following the chronological entries, that the neat handwriting evident in the earlier part of the evening before the raid began, steadily worsened as the events of that fateful night played out before the writer. All through the night the Controller, who I now know to be Sidney, diligently recorded incoming messages and those he despatched out. I put the change in the neatness of the handwriting down to the tension of the event in its broader sense.
Only recently have I discovered the story of how Sidney was directly affected while at his Northwood House post, but how this didn't prevent him from stoically continuing his duty in the knowledge of the most personal and terrible tragedy. Rather than rewording what I discovered I have included the original documents below.