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A Cane Hill Hospital World War One Hero

Like many at Cane Hill Hospital, Allan Coulter Hancock, one of its junior doctors, enlisted on the outbreak of the first world war. He was made a lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps and sent to France.

As a temporary captain, the 28-year-old was Mentioned in Dispatches three times between 1916 and 1817.

In addition to this acknowledgement of his bravery, Captain Hancock was awarded the Military Cross twice.

The first citation dated February 1917, told of his ‘conspicuous good work in Advanced Dressing Stations, having evacuated wounded men under a barrage of heavy shell fire for six days. He took command when his Commanding Officer was wounded and was then severely gassed but continued until physically incapable.’

The citation for his second bar, in July 1917, was ‘for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty, establishing his Advanced Dressing Station under very heavy shell fire. He evacuated a very large number of wounded, working all night and finally going out himself along the front to see if any were left.’

Dr Hancock became an Acting Major in January 1918 and survived the war, marrying Vera Primrose Branwell at Lancaster Gate, London in 1920. In 1921, he was awarded a diploma in public health.

Major Hancock had come a long way from living a quiet life as a junior doctor at Cane Hill Hospital.

Towards the end of 1945 his son, Dennis Allen Coulter, another Captain Hancock, would also be Mentioned in Dispatches for gallant and distinguished conduct in Italy in World War Two.

By this time, Dr Hancock was at Clay Point, Flushing in Cornwall, his home until his death at Guy’s Hospital in 1957.

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