Private Henry William Cockerell

© Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research.

William Henry Cockerell Birth Registration Transcription ©
Henry William Cockerell Baptism Certificate ©

Henry William Cockerell was born on the 4th of August 1890 at 2 Church Street Cottages, Dorking, Surrey to house painter William John Cockerell and button hole maker Louisa Cockerell. He was baptised on the 18th of May 1894 at St Martin’s church in Dorking. The family had moved from No. 2 to No. 10 Church Street Cottages by the time of his baptism.

Henry’s father William John Cockerell was born in 1859 in Knodishall, Suffolk to carpenter Alfred Cockerell, born about 1832 in Leiston, Suffolk and Sarah Cockerell, born about 1834 in Cransford, Suffolk. At the time of the 1881 Census, William was working as a machine maker. Henry’s mother Louisa was born about 1860 in Towersey, Oxfordshire. William and Louisa married about 1888.

Henry William had a sister: Sarah Ellen was born about 1894 at 10 Church Street in Dorking, Surrey.

Henry William Cockerell 1891 Census ©

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family had moved back to 2 Church Street Cottages. William was still working as a painter and Louisa was still a button hole maker. The household further comprised of Henry and a lodger, hawker, Charles Fox.

William Henry Cockerell 1901 Census ©

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family were at 10 Church Street. William was still painting and Louisa was looking after their children Henry and Sarah.

Henry William Cockerell 1911 Census ©

At the time of the 1911 Census, the family lived at 28 Church Street. Henry was working as a fishmonger.

William Cockerell died in 1912 and was buried on the 29th of October 1912 at Dorking Municipal Cemetery.

Henry William Cockerell enlisted in Dorking, Surrey into the 7th Battalion, The Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry. He was a Private with regiment number 27214.

At the time of his death he was part of the 8th (Service) Battalion, the Devonshire Regiment. He was a Private with regimental number 70061.

In early October 1917, the 8th and the 9th Service Battalions found themselves near Passchendaele enduring the worst of the Third Battle of Ypres. “On the 26th in an unsuccessful attack on Gheluvelt both lost heavily – especially among their officers, only three of whom from the two Battalions emerged unscathed.”

Henry was killed on the 26th of October 1917 during a failed attack on Gheluvelt in Belgium.

Henry William Cockerell Hooge Crater Cemetery Roll of Honour ©

His body was later exhumed and re-buried at the Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belgium. His body was identified by a tag on his cardigan. His grave reference number is: IX.H.10. The headstone bears the inscription: “Thy Will Be Done”.

Henry William Cockerell Medal Roll Index Card ©
Henry William Cockerell British War Medal and Victory Medal Award Roll ©

Henry received the British War and Victory medals.

Henry William Cockerell Soldiers Effects ©

Henry’s mother received £7, 11s and 1d on the 15th of February 1919 and a further £10, 10s on the 31st of December 1919 in Soldier’s Effects.

Henry Cockerell WW1 Memorial Plaque © Carol Herriott
King George V letter to Cockerell Family © Carol Herriott

The Museum was contacted by Carol Herriott, who had found Henry’s WW1 Plaque of Honour (Dead Man’s Penny) when she was clearing her mother’s house. Henry was not a relative of hers, but her Great Uncle married a woman from Dorking, called Boulcott, who worked for a fishmonger. Carol’s son can remember playing with the penny as a child.

Born                       Dorking
Lived                      Dorking

Son of                     Louisa and William Cockerell of 28 Church Street, Dorking

Regiment                 8th Battalion, Devonshire Regiment
Number                   70061

Date of Death           26th October 1917
Place of Death         Ypres, Belgium
Cause of Death        Killed in Action

Age                          26

Cemetery                 Hooge Crater Cemetery, Zillebeke, Belguim

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