Private Albert Hancock

The Hancock family had deep roots in Fulwood. From Christopher who was born  in 1807, they hewed stone and built houses in the area over the next century. Christopher’s son, Henry (born 1840, one of eight children of Christopher and Elizabeth Storey ) was the granfather of Albert.

Henry and his brother Christopher were operating the quarry at Brookhouse (now the recreation ground) in 1871. 10 years later Henry and his family were at Sheep Hill Farm which was then just over the border in Derbyshire but Henry retained an interest in the quarry. Henry and his wife Mary Ann (Lawson) were parents to 10 children of whom Robert (born 1868) was the third child and eldest son. Robert was the father of Albert.

In the 1890s Henry had expanded his interests to being landlord of the Norfolk Arms at Ringinglow where he installed his family. But he maintained his interest in Sheep Hill farm and all his adult sons, including Robert, were working there. Robert married Elizabeth Jeffcock in 1898 and by the time of the census in 1901 they had moved to a house at the junction of Tom Lane and Carsick Hill Road. Robert was described as a ‘stone mason and farmer.’

Albert was born in this house on the 1st January 1899 and a month later was baptised at Fulwood, like so many of his immediate and wider family. Around 1907, Robert took over the farm at Sheephill after his father retired.

A few days before his 17th birthday, Albert presented himself to the recruiting oficer in Sheffield. The officer having allowed Albert to attest his willingness to serve told him to wait until he was called up as he was under age. In May 1918 Albert returned to the offices and was physically examined. Not surprisingly as he had worked on the farm, Albert was in good shape. He was well above average height at 5 feet 10.5 inches and had brown hair to complement his blue eyes and fresh complexion. Having been found fit for active service overseas he was sent to Pontefract to join the West Riding Regiment.

After a brief training Albert embarked for France on 5th October and as soon as he arrived was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry. On 23rd October 1918, Albert was reported missing. His parents were informed in December but proabably heard no more. On the anniversary that he was declared missing, his family put this announcement in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph.

Announcement in the Sheffield Daily Telegraph on 23rd October 1919

However the War Graves Commission did their work and in April 1920 Albert’s body was exhumed from a temporary grave and interred in the Cross Roads Cemetery, Fontaine-Au-Bois. There is no dedication or reference to Albert’s parents in the records of the CWGC and this mybe a reflection of the feelings of the family.

At the outbreak of the second world war Albert’s brother, George, and his family were living in the farmhouse while Robert and Elizabeth were in the cottage next door. Robert died in 1949.

Albert was the cousin of Herbert Hancock who is also commemorated at Fulwood.