William Frederick Johncock

A recent purchase, this postcard of All Saints Church in Writtle was bought because of my large association to Writtle via the Bonnington and Brazier families on my Maternal side.

I was pleased however to find that the card had been sent too so i could have a nosy at the message.

message on back

It was sent to a Mrs Johncock of 103 Chapel Lane, Walton, Nr. Ipswich in Suffolk.

The message reads:

Dear, I am working 10 miles from town for a few days write so i have a letter weekend as I shall be back in town by Saturday. Sorry to hear the children are no better Bill

By the personal tone of the message I had a guess that Bill could be her husband and I think I was right.

William Frederick Johncock was born on 22nd February 1881 in Ipswich, Suffolk to Robert and Jane Johncock. He married Agnes Chennery in 1902 in Woodbridge, Suffolk.

He was a plasterer by trade rising to the rank of Master by the 1911 census. I guess in those days you went where the work was and if you didnt have any transport you’d have to stay locally to the job and away from home thus the wish for a letter. The children in question were two sons, William Frederick aged 2 and Arthur Stanley who would have been a baby. It must have been very tough for Agnes with two small poorly children and her husband absent so much with work.

Two more children were born after that; Sidney Robert in 1908 and a daughter, Ethel Agnes in 1910.

I went in search of him in the WW1 records and found him straight away. The address on the paperwork being the same as the postcard was a thrill to find. Its a bit faint but readable.

WF Johncock address

On one of his WW1 service papers Agnes and the children are listed as his next of kin which I think is great to see

W.F. Johncock WW1 service papers

He joined up on 26th January 1915 and was posted to the Royal Engineers as a sapper. He was ticked off a couple of times for returning late to his barracks after a day pass was granted him. Once in 1916 and then again in 1917. On the first occasion he was almost a day late! He received 3 days ‘confined to barracks for that’ and forfeited a days pay. I wonder what had kept him or if it had all got too much and he was thinking of going AWOL?

On 23rd April 1918 he was badly wounded by shrapnel to the head and face and after a period of almost a month was shipped back to the UK and spent 5 months in the Merryflats Hospital, Govan, Glasgow.

I cant find out exactly what it was for but he was awarded the Military Medal on 16th July 1918.

His injuries left him with constant headaches and dizzness and after being discharged from hospital he was posted to a Reserve battalion and then finally invalided out and demobbed in January 1919.

I find him 20 years later in the 1939 Register living in Felixstowe with Agnes and he’s still a plasterer.

He died in 1966 in Woodbridge, Suffolk aged 81. Its great to see that his injuries didnt stop him from having a long and hopefully happy life. Agnes died in 1973 aged almost 90, so they were a long living family.

If you have any connection to these people i’d love to hear from you so that the postcard can be returned to its righful owner.

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