Sergeant Alfred George Hancott

Service number 2126, 1126
Birth Date 03 June 1887
Death Date 20 March 1974
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney, Narrabeen
Final Rank Sergeant
Unit 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion
Places
Conflicts/Operations
  • First World War, 1914-1918
  • First World War, 1914-1918
Description

Alfred George Hancott was born near the small village of Norton Juxta Twycross in Leicestershire, England, on 3 June 1887 to Thomas Hancott and Caroline née Smith. Alfred was one of eleven children, with three sisters and seven brothers. Hancott served for 9 years in the 1st and 4th Battalions of the Leicestershire Regiment.

Hancott married Mary Elizabeth Walker in Stockport, England, in 1905 and she died in 1908. In 1911, according to the census, Hancott was working as a clicker (leather cutting for shoes) and boarding with a family in Leicester. There is a record of an Alfred Hancott, a constable, arriving as an unassisted passenger at Sydney in March 1913 from London aboard the Themistocles. Coincidentally, it was on this ship that Hancott embarked after enlistment in 1914. He is recorded as working as a railway porter in Glebe, a Sydney suburb, in 1913. His service record shows he was a pieman at the time of enlistment in the Australian Imperial Force.

Hancott enlisted in the AIF at Rosehill, New South Wales, on 13 October 1914 and was attached to the 1st Reinforcements for the 3rd Battalion. Promoted to Sergeant in October 1914, Hancott embarked for Egypt on the troopship Themistocles on 22 December 1914. On 4 April 1915 his battalion left Egypt for Lemnos. The battalion landed on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 on the first day of the campaign. In June 1915, Hancott contracted influenza and was sent to Malta on 14 July and then to Plymouth, England, on 28 July. Because of his continuing lung trouble, He returned to Australia aboard the troopship Runic on 7 November 1915, arriving on 21 December. He was discharged on 9 February 1916.

War pension records reveal that in March 1916 Hancott was a resident of the Octagon Convalescent Home, the private home of a Mr and Mrs Holt at Darling Point, New South Wales. The home had been handed over to the Red Cross Society in January 1916 for use until September 1917 as a home for invalided soldiers. This home was also known as the Woolbuyers Convalescent Home after an event held by the woolbuyers of Sydney on 23 July 1915, at which a bale of wool was auctioned, raising £7,223 for the maintenance costs of the proposed convalescent home.

On 14 March 1916, the returned soldiers residing at this home organised a farewell concert for Mr & Mrs Holt. The program was arranged by Hancott, who also sang two songs, “Your eyes told me so” and “Keep the home fires burning”. During the interval Hancott made a presentation to Mr and Mrs Holt on behalf of his comrades.

Hancott married again in 1916, this time to Lillian Gertrude Mason. The couple had a daughter Gertrude in 1917 and a son Edward in 1919.

Little is known about his post-war life, with census records showing his occupation as a carrier in 1930, a salesman in 1933 and then as a toll master for the period from 1936 to at least 1949. Hancott appears to have retired by 1954. Alfred George Hancott died at Narabeen, New South Wales on 20 March 1974 at the age of 86. His wife predeceased him in March 1971.

Rolls

Timeline

Date of birth 03 June 1887
Date of enlistment 07 October 1914
Date of embarkation 22 December 1914
Date returned to Australia 07 November 1915
Date of death 20 March 1974