William Edward Hancock
Date of birth: 1921
Date of death: 15.5.1944
Regiment: Queen’s Own Royal West Kent
Family information: Husband of Edna Hancock nee Schofield
Service number: 3654012
I think this is William Edward Hancock who was Private 3654012 in the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment 1st Battalion. He died on 15th May 1944 aged 25 and was the husband of Edna Hancock of Wrenthorpe.
According to the Army Roll of Honour he was born in Liverpool and enlisted with the South Lancashire Regiment (Prince of Wales Volunteers) as an infantryman.
The 1st Battalion was part of the 10th Infantry Brigade of the 4th Infantry Division. In February 1944 the Battalion was sent to the Italian Front to fight in the Fourth Battle of Monte Cassino. It was during this encounter that William lost his life and is buried in the Cassino War Cemetery.
The Wakefield Express printed the following obituary on 17th June 1944:
“KILLED IN ACTION – Mrs W E Hancock of 11, Bunker’s Hill, Wrenthorpe, has been notified that her husband Private W E Hancock of the Devonshire Regiment was killed in action on May 15th last, while serving in Italy. He joined the Army on March 15th 1937 and went overseas on March 23rd 1944.”
William was 25 in 1944 which would lead to a birth date of 1919. A family member, however, believes he was born in 1921 in the West Derby District, son of Ernest Hancock and Mary nee Maguire. In the last quarter of 1942 William E Hancock married Edna Schofield in the Lower Agbrigg District and had a daughter Doreen at the end of 1944. Edna remarried in 1946 and then again in 1954. She died Edna Leach in Wrenthorpe in 2011.