Charles (Chas) HANDCOCK



Service Number: 39
Enlisted: 7 February 1916, Wangaratta, Victoria
Last Rank: Lance Corporal
Last Unit: 38th Infantry Battalion
Born: Myrrhee, Wangaratta - Victoria, Australia, July 1886
Home Town: Wangaratta, Wangaratta, Victoria
Schooling: Myrrhee Primary School
Occupation: Carpenter
Died: Died of Illness (influenza + complications), 3rd Aust General Hospital, Abbeville, France, 10 November 1918
Cemetery: Abbeville Communal Cemetery Extension
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Myrrhee HB1, Myrrhee State School Pictorial HB, Oxley War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

7 Feb 1916: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 39, Wangaratta, Victoria
8 Feb 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, SN 39, 37th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
3 Jun 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, SN 39, 37th Infantry Battalion, --- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '17' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: HMAT Persic embarkation_ship_number: A34 public_note: ''
10 Aug 1917: Promoted AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, 37th Infantry Battalion
30 Aug 1918: Promoted AIF WW1, Sergeant, 37th Infantry Battalion, marked on attestation, Temporary Sergeant.
12 Oct 1918: Transferred Sergeant, 38th Infantry Battalion, still temporary sergeant
10 Nov 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Lance Corporal, SN 39, 38th Infantry Battalion

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Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The ‘Aggressive’ Handcocks from Myrrhee

Charles Handcock was one of eight brothers to sign up from the family of Charles and Harriet Handcock, from the Upper Fifteen Mile Creek area of Myrrhee in North East Victoria. He was married to Lilian Handcock and they lived in Wangaratta.  It is said that the Handcock family had the world record for number of sons enlisting for WWI from any one family.  Of the brothers Albert John was the only member to be killed in action (Gallipoli, May 1915). Charles Handcock was the other brother from the eight who did not make it home to Australia, dying of broncho pneumonia that followed on from influenza in November 1918.  The other six brothers survived WWI, although Reginald had his right leg amputated below the knee due to a gunshot wound during Third Ypres otherwise shortened to just Passchendaele (around Zonnebeke?). He was earlier wounded at Pozieres in August 1916 (to the ankle) but recovered to rejoin his battalion.  In an up-beat letter from England after the amputation he wrote that it was amusing to see the other fellows trying to use their artificial legs and that he was keen to have a go himself.  He also has one of his arms paralysed.

Then as now the Handcock's are a well regarded and respected family of hop farmers whose Upper Fifteen Mile Creek hop gardens have seen continual production since the 1890's.  That the family hop growing enterprise survived the boom – bust (mainly bust) hop growing profitability cycle of the 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990’s and 2000’s, when most independent growers went out of business, is testament to the family’s resilience and hardiness of the family.

“The Handcock's must be aggressive, six of them going!” (Capt Gerald Evans MC, 8th Bn, Myrrhee resident, letter to mother, 11/6/1916)