No.630 – CQMS Herbert William Hancock – 2nd Battalion AIF
Herbert William Hancock was born in Sydney New South Wales in 1887 to Thomas and Elizabeth Hancock. The family soon moved across to Western Australia and took up residence in Holland Street Fremantle.
Herbert was educated at Fremantle State School and after leaving took up work as a boat builder and later as a Water Policeman. Herbert also served for two years in the Fremantle Company of the 11th Australian Infantry Regiment in WA.
Herbert went to New South Wales and found a job as a Water Policeman in Newcastle. During this time he also served in the Royal Australian Artillery Militia in Sydney.On the 18th August 1914 in Randwick NSW Herbert enlisted into the AIF.
He was accepted as fit with the medical officer finding him to be 5 feet 10 inches tall; weight of 12 stone; chest measurement of 37-39 inches; fair complexion; blue eyes and red hair. His religious denomination was Church of England.
He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion AIF with the rank of Sergeant and the regimental no.630. He was posted to "F” Company though when the eight companies later became four, Herbert became part of "C” Company where he became platoon Sergeant of No.13 Platoon.
Herbert trained with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Brigade in New South Wales until the 18th October 1914 when he boarded the H.M.A.T. "Suffolk” in Sydney Harbour and set sail for overseas. Herbert might have been hoping to see his home in Fremantle during the voyage but this never happened as the convoy pulled into King George Sound in Albany WA where they remained until all the ships of the convoy had gathered.
They then set sail for Egypt, reaching there in December 1914. The 2nd Battalion then trained in Egypt for the next few months, receiving their embarkation orders in April 1915.The 2nd Battalion then went to Lemnos Island and joined the 3rd Brigade who had been there since March and who would be making the initial landing. All the Australian, New Zealand, British and French troops who were involved in the landing congregated on Lemnos Island until the day of the landing, April 25th.
The 2nd Battalion as part of the 1st Brigade landed early in the morning, after the 3rd Brigade, and were immediately used to reinforce the firing line, the men of the 2nd Battalion being spread out along the 2nd Ridge at Gallipoli.Herbert survived the landing unscathed and on the 1st May 1915 was promoted to the rank of Company Quarter Master Sergeant as the previous incumbent had been killed. Over the next few weeks the 2nd Battalion built their defences on the top of the 2nd Ridge, facing the Turkish positions at Lone Pine. A large Turkish assault had been expected since the landing and this took place on the 19th May 1915.
The Turkish troops attacked along the line and in places made the Australian line but were repulsed. In the 2nd Battalion’s position, many Turk’s had been killed on the parapet and as a few men of the 2nd Battalion, including Hancock tried to clear them away, they were killed by Turkish fire.Herbert was buried behind the lines in Brown’s Dip Cemetery, though after the war he was exhumed and reburied in Lone Pine Cemetery in plot II.E.5.His mother Elizabeth and sister Lillian would receive pensions from the military after his death.