Herbert Hancock

Herbert Hancock was born at Peterwood Farm in 1896. The farm was run by Herbert’s maternal grandfather, William Broomhead. Herbert’s parents were Herbert and Martha Jane (Broomhead).

Herbert was followed by Elizabeth who was born in 1900 and perhaps with much suprise Albert was born in 1912. By 1901 the family was at Carr Houses that are near the bridge on Quiet Lane and they remained for the next 20 years. Although Herbert senior had been descrbed as a labourer in the marriage and baptism registers, other references state that he is a stonemason or waller.

Herbert was a cousin of Albert Hancock as Henry (born 1840) and Mary Ann were their common paternal grandparents. Herbert and Albert were two of 18 grandchidren born to Henry’s seven sons who all lived locally. There were also grandchildren born to his daughters.

When he presented himself at the recruiting office in December 1915, Albert would have towered over many of the other men. At just over 6 feet tall he was 5 inches taller than the average recruit and 9 inches above the minimum height. Weighing in a 144lbs Herbert had a BMI of under 20 (although BMI as a measure of health had not developed!)

He was initially assigned to the 2nd/4th Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment but after June 1917 was re-assigned to the 1st/4th Battalion.

Herbert was injured in March 1917 at Bapaume, his injury being described as a General Service Wound (GSW) to his right thigh. Having spent three days in Casualty Clearing Station he was transfered by the St John Ambulance Brigade to Etaples and by the ‘Stad Antwerpen’ a hospital ship, to Folkestone arriving there on some two weeks after being wounded. He spent three weeks having the wound treated before beeing sent for convalesence until the end of June.

By the begining of September 1917 he was fit and returned to the field on 13 September. On 25th October he received a GSW, this time to his right shoulder. This wound was far more serious and he ‘died of wounds’ the following day.

Herbert was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery, the largest in France as Etaples was the location for hospitals and a one of the major ports connecting with the UK. Like his cousin’s grave there is no dedication on the grave headstone or family details in the record

Six months later, his family receivd a parcel containing Herbert’s personal posessions. These included some letters and photos and personal items such as a mirror in a case, a comb and a knife. There were also items of uniform : a cap badge and shoulder ‘titles’.

There is an inscription on his parents’ grave in Fulwood:

In loving remembrance of Herbert the dearly beloved son of Herbert & Martha Jane Hancock died from wounds received in action Oct 26th 1917 in his 21st year and interred in general cemetery Etaples France October 27th 1917 at rest

He is also named on the Fulwood Memorial.