Rank:


Aircraftsman I; Private

Service No(s):


F.15775; 215775

Regiment:


Royal Naval Air Service; Royal Air Force

Unit:

HMS President; HMS Daedalus; 66 Wing; 67 Wing; 226 Squadron; HMS Empress; HMS Engadine

Returned:

Yes

Place of birth:

Harringay

Occupation:

Bank clerk

Date of death:

Cause of death:

Grave or panel reference:

Name of father:

Walter William Hancock

Name of siblings:

Name(s) of children:

Sheila P; Robert M

Died:

No

Date of birth:

02/03/1898

Place of enlistment:

Event:

Italy; Malta

Age at death:

Cemetery or memorial:

Other memorial:

Name of mother:

Jeannie Maria Hancock (nee Hills)

Name of spouse:

Gladys Freda Brook

Address:

73 Duckett Road, Harringay.

Biography:

Cyril Walter Hancock was born on 2 March 1898 in Harringay. His father was Walter William Hancock, a commercial clerk for a religious society; his mother was Jeannie Maria Hancock (nee Hills). They are listed as members of New Court Chapel, where Walter was a seat-holder, so perhaps he worked for the Congregationalists. Cyril was an only child. The family lived at 73 Duckett Road, Harringay.

Cyril enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service (RNAS) on 6 June 1916 aged 18 and was assigned as an Aircraftsman II to HMS President II, a stone frigate which served as the London accounting base for the RNAS. He was 5’ 11½” tall and his occupation is given as clerk. In July he was assigned to HMS Daedalus, which was an RNAS nominal depot ship (and a hulk in the River Medway), presumably for training. Daedalus was also the accounting base for Cranwell, Lincolnshire, the recently commissioned Central Training Establishment of the RNAS, to which Cyril was posted when promoted to Aircraftsman I in April 1917.

In April 1918 Cyril transferred to the Royal Air Force (RAF) when it was formed from a merger of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and the RNAS. The RAF decided to use RFC ranks and thus Cyril became a Private. The following month he was sent from Cranwell to Blandford, Dorset, a former equipment and personnel depot and discharge centre, which became an intake camp for the RAF.

In June he was posted to Wing 66, supporting 224 and 225 Squadrons in Otranto, Puglia, in Italy, and then Wing 67, supporting 226 Squadron in Taranto, Puglia. The latter Squadron had fast bombers and fighter aircraft and Cyril joined them in October that year, and the following month went with them to Spinola, Malta (the site of a military hospital, RAF training camp and transit base for troops awaiting return to the UK). In May 1919 he was posted to HMS Empress, a seaplane carrier converted from a cross-channel packet ship, and then HMS Engadine, a similarly converted seaplane tender. In September he finally went onshore in Malta and was granted 26 days’ leave prior to demobilisation and transfer to RAF G Reserve on 18 November 1919.

After the war Cyril returned to live with his parents who had moved to 11 Chimes Avenue, Palmers Green by 1925. That year he married Gladys Freda Brook, the daughter of a dairyman, at Holy Trinity, East Finchley. They had a daughter Sheila, born in 1929 and a son Robert, born in 1935. By 1939 they were living in Orpington, Kent. Cyril was employed as a bank clerk and was a Special Constable in the Metropolitan Police. He died over 50 years later, at the age of 92, while a resident of The Priory Care Home in Llandogo, overlooking the Wye Valley near Monmouth.