Handcock family paid a high price for loyalty
Unit: 7th Btn, 21st Btn, 37th Btn, 38th Battalion, 1st Aust Tunneling
Location: Gallipoli, France
The Handcock family of Myrrhee in Victoria certainly paid a high price for their loyalty in World War I. Charles and Harriet Handcock had nine sons and would have been proud that eight of them served in the war.
But they would have been devastated that two of their sons died and three others were badly wounded. Their youngest son, Peter, was too young to go to war.
Private John Albert [Jack] Handcock of the 7th Battalion AIF was the first to go to war and the first to die, killed in the landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He is commemorated at the Lone Pine Memorial dedicated to Australian soldiers who have no known grave.
The other son to die was L/Cpl Charles Handcock of 37-38th Battalion AIF who died from illness just one day before the end of the war on 10 November 1918. He was buried at Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension at Somme in France.
Of the other six, Corporal Reginald Francis [Frank] Handcock of the 21st Battalion had a leg amputated at Southern General Hospital in Birmingham, England, and Sapper Robert Edwin [Bert] Handcock of the 5th Australian Field Company Engineers had a steel plate inserted in his shoulder. L/Cpl Joseph Ralph Handock, who served with the 4th Australian Light Horse, the 1st Cyclist Battalion and the 2nd Pioneer Battalion was also wounded and treated at Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, England.
The others to serve were Richard Murdoch Rowe [Dick] Handcock of the 2nd Australian Pioneer Battalion, Private William Henry Handcock of the 37th Battalion and Sapper Frederick Arthur Handcock of the 1st Australian Tunnelling Company.
When the sons posed for a family group photograph before they enlisted, Albert [Jack] Handcock had already left so the photographer stood in the line to provide a space before moving out to take the photograph. He later stripped in a photograph of Albert in uniform to complete the group. The only clue to this manipulation is that Albert has no legs showing in the photograph.
The material for this article was supplied by Mrs Nancy June Handcock of Victoria