Rank:


Corporal

Service No(s):


1390; 13094; 41580; M/403794

Regiment:


London Regiment; Royal Engineers; Suffolk Regiment; Army Service Corp

Unit:

12th Battalion County of London (The Rangers); Railway Troops

Returned:

Yes

Place of birth:

Islington

Occupation:

Platelayer

Date of death:

Cause of death:

Grave or panel reference:

Name of father:

Henry George Cock

Name of siblings:

William; Arthur George; Walter James; Stanley Wellman; Leonard; Ernest; Frank; Gerald

Name(s) of children:

Died:

No

Date of birth:

31/10/1894

Place of enlistment:

Event:

France; Home

Age at death:

82

Cemetery or memorial:

Other memorial:

Name of mother:

Louisa

Name of spouse:

Address:

65 Woodstock Road, Finsbury Park

Biography:

Henry George Cock was one of three brothers named on the plaque to returning soldiers in New Court Chapel, now St Mellitus Church. Henry, Ernest and Stanley were the sons of Henry George Cock, a Foreman Platelayer with the railway, and his wife Louisa. Henry was  born in 1894, and by 1911 the family was living at 65 Woodstock Road in Stroud Green.

In 1911 Henry was working as a toolman when he joined the Territorial Force. He enlisted as a Private in 12th Battalion County of London (The Rangers), part of the London Regiment, at their HQ in Chenies Street in Bloomsbury. He undertook training in 1912 and 1913.

Henry’s embodied service – ie his actual war service- is a complicated story involving four different service numbers and four different regiments over five years.

It began on 5 August 1914, the day after war was declared. He was made a Lance Corporal almost immediately, and a Corporal in March 1915. Henry served in the British Expeditionary Force in France from 24 December 1914 to 2 May 1915, receiving a gunshot wound to his knee in April 1915. He served at home until 8 January 1916, with five months as a temporary Lance/Sergeant, for which he did not receive any extra pay. He served in France again from 9 January to 16 July 1916, when he was discharged in order to re-enlist in the Royal Engineers.

Henry had applied to join the Royal Engineers Railway Troops on 15 April 1916, and his proficiency was tested in June. He gave his occupation as Platelayer (the same as his father) so he was obviously working for the railways before the war. He enlisted as a Corporal on 17 July, and for some reason his service was backdated to 31 March. In January 1917 Henry’s proficiency was tested again, this time in the field; his trade was given as Platelayer and he was given the Skilled Engineer rate of pay from 1 December 1916. There are no details of where Henry served but the Railway Engineers were responsible for the railways needed to move troops and equipment in every theatre of war.

It is not clear why, but possibly as he was no longer able to fight, Henry then joined the Suffolk Regiment as a Corporal. It seems he had suffered another gunshot wound, this time to his chest and right arm, in spring 1918 and he spent time in Mill Road Infirmary in Liverpool in April 1918. In July he was granted leave at home at 65 Woodstock Road and the Officer in Charge of the 1st Western General Hospital, which was located at Fazakerley Hospital in Liverpool, considered he was ‘fit for III Employment [not I Duty or II Command depot.]’

Henry’s fourth regiment was the Royal Army Service Corps; again it is not clear why he changed regiments or exactly when. On 7 January 1919 he gained a Certificate of Proficiency and was deemed a ‘fair Heavy Lorry Driver’ and a ‘Daimler/Peerless-Albion Driver.’ He may have been a Corporal (as on his Medal Index Card), but he was listed as a Private when he was discharged later that month from the RASC Dockyard in Woolwich. His medical Category was Bii, that is ‘Able to walk 5 miles, see and hear sufficiently for ordinary purposes.’ His Theatre of War had been ‘Eastern’ ie the east of England.

A form from No 1 Dispersal Unit in Wimbledon shows that Henry had previously served as an Infantry Soldier; his Sobriety was ‘Good’; and he was Reliable and Intelligent.

On 8 April 1919 Henry was awarded a pension. He was 24 years old, single, formerly a Private, and had 20% degree of disablement, attributable to a gunshot wound. The maximum pension payable to a Private who was classed as 100% disabled (loss of two or more limbs, loss of sight or facial disfigurement) was 40s per week, so with 20% degree of disablement Henry seems to have been entitled to 8s. In fact, he was granted a weekly pension of 5s 6d from 10 February, to be reviewed in 26 weeks, and the record says his pension was to be temporarily increased by a bonus of 20% from 24 April.

After the war Henry went out to East Africa, perhaps inspired by his brother Ernest, who had served in Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in the King’s African Rifles in 1918.

On 7 August 1924 Henry set sail, 2nd Class,  for Dar es Salaam. Over the next 25 years he lived in Tanzania and made a number of trips back to England. His occupation in 1926 was Permanent Way [ie Railway] Inspector and his UK address was still the family home at 65 Woodstock Road, Stroud Green. He travelled 1st Class in 1936, and in 1938 his occupation was Civil Servant. By 1932 Henry’s UK home was 16 Rectory Gardens in Hornsey and by 1938 he had moved to Surrey. The last recorded journey seems to be from South Africa to the UK in 1950. Henry died in 1977 at the age of 82.