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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 15436 Harold Hancock


  • Age: 22
  • From: Liverpool
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 17th Btn
  • K.I.A Monday 10th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

Harold Hancock was born in Liverpool on 25th May 1894, the eldest son of David Hancock and Catherine Gladney (née Davies).  His parents, both from Liverpool, married in 1891 and had five children. Harold had an older sister Dorothy, and younger siblings David, Frank (died at age 1), and Percy. Harold was baptised in St. Mary’s Church, Walton, on 28th June 1894, his parents’ residence 77 Oxton Street, and his father’s occupation listed as warehouseman.
 
In 1901 they are still living at 77 Oxton Street, off County Road, Walton, with three children. His father is now working on his own account as a cotton forwarding agent. Harold is 7.
 
Harold attended Arnott Street School before enrolling in Longmoor Lane Junior School.
 
By 1911 they have moved to 494 Rice Lane, Walton, and have four children. His father, aged 49, is a forwarding agent (cotton), still working on his own account, his mother is 45. His parents advise that they have been married for 19 years and have had five children, four of whom have survived. They are lsited as; Dorothy, 18,  a shop assistant, Harold is 16, an apprentice clerk with the Dock Board, and David, 13, and Percy, 7, are at school.

He enlisted in Liverpool, joining the 17th Battalion of The King's Liverpool Regiment as Private 15436. 

He was billeted at Prescot Watch Factory from 14th September 1914, he trained there and also at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 17th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. He arrived in France on 7th November 1915.

Harold survived the opening day of the Somme when the 17th Battalion were part of the successful liberation of Montauban. Their next objective was to assist with the capture of Trones Wood. 

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.

Harold was killed in action during the action at Trones Wood, he was 22 years of age and his body was either lost or his grave was subsequently detroyed as his name is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing of the Somme. 

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.” 

His family placed a notice in the Liverpool Echo on 28th July 1916:

 “July 12, killed in action, aged 22 years, Private Harold Hancock (“Pals”), the dearly-beloved eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. David Hancock, 494 Rice Lane, Walton. (Deeply regretted.)” 

A report on his death was in the Liverpool Echo on 31st July 1916:

A TRUE "COMRADE."

Private Harold Hancock of the "Pals", who was 22 years of age, has been killed. Prior to joining the army in September, 1914, he was employed in the rates and dues department of the Dock Board. In a letter from a friend of his at the front, it is stated that he was killed whilst endeavouring to get rations through to his comrades, a duty for which he had volunteered. He had on previous occasions undertaken perilous duties for the sake of his comrades. He was an enthusiastic worker in connection with various organisations of Lynwood Road Congregational Church, Walton.
 
His parents received Harold’s Army effects, including a War Gratuity of £8-10s.
 
His father died in 1938 aged 78.  In 1939 his mother, 73, is living with daughter Dorothy, at “Braeside”, Heswall, Wirral.  His mother lived until 1956, and died at the age of 89.
 
Harold is commemorated on the following memorials - 
 
Walton Congregational Church

Longmoor Lane Junior School

Mersey Docks and Harbour Board

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old