After the decision by the military tribunal in February 1940, Sidney was not called up for military service until the 16th May 1940, when he had to report to Becketts Park College in Leeds for a special intensive course of training in technical subjects which lasted two months. In his first letter home, the day after he arrived, Sidney described to his parents what the camp was like. He wrote:
Well I arrived safely here about 2.20pm yesterday and so far I have nothing to grumble at. We have spent most of the time having our kit doled out.
They give a room to four chappies and of m room-mates one comes from Birmingham and the other two are from Northampton.
I should think there were about 300 or so of us arrived yesterday. Becketts Park is a very nice place, but of course it is not as nice as Lyndhurst, and it has ample sports facilities having its own football and crickets pitches, tennis courts, gymnasiums and even a swimming bath. We are allowed to bathe everyday between 6.0pm & 7.0pm and on Sundays in the morning.
Sidney remained in Britain until January 1941 and was stationed with No 11 depot as a Clerk CIII with 7th General Hospital. On the 5th January 1941 Sidney and the rest of his corps left Britain for the Middle East from Glasgow, where they disembarked at Alexandria in Egypt on the 9th March 1941. Sidney was only in Alexandria for about a month before he was sent to Crete on the 19th April in preparation for the defence of Crete from the Germans.
While in Egypt, Sidney managed to get to Cairo to see the Sphinx and the Pyramids