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Old 22 February 2012, 05:10 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Last mission of John Herbert Cock

Gentlemen,

I am looking for info on the missions, especially the last mission, of FSL John Herbert Cock (Jack to his friends) who flew a Nieuport 17 for No. 60 Squadron, RFC. He was engaged to marry the sister of DE Harkness, DSC, but he never returned from the war. During his internment, Harkness found out much too late that Jack had been MIA for four months. Although he immediately contacted everyone he knew in London, as well as the Dutch Legation in Berlin, all he could find out was that his friend wasn't a POW. He was eventually found, buried in Pas-de-Calais, and listed as KIA, date of death, April 14, 1917. I would like to know what FSL Cock was doing the day he died, the circumstances of his death, and whether he'd been credited with any kills.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can offer!
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Old 22 February 2012, 11:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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From My trilogy For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume One: 1915-1942) :

Sat 14 Apr 1917
Western Front
Offensive patrol
60 Squadron, RFC (Filescamp Farm, France - 13th Army Wing, 3rd Brigade)
Nieuport 17 B1511 - took off at 0830 with four others and one of four which failed to return. At about 0915 the formation sighted and dived upon two enemy two-seater aircraft east of Douai. It in turn was attacked and badly mauled by enemy fighters, four of the Nieuports being swiftly felled. Three pilots forced landed and were taken prisoner, one of whom died of wounds two days later. The pilot of B1511 died during the combat and is buried at Beaumont, 5km NW of Douai.
Pilot: 2nd Lt John Herbert COCK, NZ Rifle Brigade NZEF and RFC - Age 23.

And from Vol Three (biographies and Appendices):

COCK, 2nd Lieutenant John Herbert.
6063 (10/305 in NZEF); b Nelson 16 Nov 93; Nelson Coll; clerk - J H Cock & Co, Wanganui. NZEF (Wgtn Inf Bn) & Comm 13 Aug 14, emb for Egypt with Main Body 16 Oct 14, arr 3 Dec 14, wdd at Gallipoli, rtd to NZ invalided 15 Jul 15, rtd to duty 1 Oct 15, emb for Egypt with NZRB 5 Feb 16, arr 15 Mar 16, emb for France, wdd 31 May 16, emb for UK & hosp 4 Jun 16, declared unfit for light duties for 3 mths on 24 Jul 16, t/frd to RFC at Oxford/2 Sch of Instr as Pilot u/t 25 Sep 16, 5 Res Sqn 23 Nov 16, [civil RAeC Cert 18 Jan 17], 1(Aux)SAG 16 Feb 17, CFS/'B' Sqn 6 Mar 17, Pilots Badge 3 Apr 17, emb for France & 60 Sqn (Nieuport 17) 11 Apr 17, kao 14 Apr 17. Beaumont Communal Cemetery - at North end, Pas-de-Calais, France. Son of Joseph Henry & Elizabeth Mary Cock (née Symons), of Nelson.

As can be seen, he was a complete novice and had little opportunity to shoot down anything.

Thanks for the Harkness/Cock connection, something I was previously unaware of.

Cheers,
Errol
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Old 23 February 2012, 02:37 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by errolmartyn View Post
From My trilogy For Your Tomorrow - A record of New Zealanders who have died while serving with the RNZAF and Allied Air Services since 1915 (Volume One: 1915-1942) :

Sat 14 Apr 1917
Western Front
Offensive patrol
60 Squadron, RFC (Filescamp Farm, France - 13th Army Wing, 3rd Brigade)
Nieuport 17 B1511 - took off at 0830 with four others and one of four which failed to return. At about 0915 the formation sighted and dived upon two enemy two-seater aircraft east of Douai. It in turn was attacked and badly mauled by enemy fighters, four of the Nieuports being swiftly felled. Three pilots forced landed and were taken prisoner, one of whom died of wounds two days later. The pilot of B1511 died during the combat and is buried at Beaumont, 5km NW of Douai.
Pilot: 2nd Lt John Herbert COCK, NZ Rifle Brigade NZEF and RFC - Age 23.

And from Vol Three (biographies and Appendices):

COCK, 2nd Lieutenant John Herbert.
6063 (10/305 in NZEF); b Nelson 16 Nov 93; Nelson Coll; clerk - J H Cock & Co, Wanganui. NZEF (Wgtn Inf Bn) & Comm 13 Aug 14, emb for Egypt with Main Body 16 Oct 14, arr 3 Dec 14, wdd at Gallipoli, rtd to NZ invalided 15 Jul 15, rtd to duty 1 Oct 15, emb for Egypt with NZRB 5 Feb 16, arr 15 Mar 16, emb for France, wdd 31 May 16, emb for UK & hosp 4 Jun 16, declared unfit for light duties for 3 mths on 24 Jul 16, t/frd to RFC at Oxford/2 Sch of Instr as Pilot u/t 25 Sep 16, 5 Res Sqn 23 Nov 16, [civil RAeC Cert 18 Jan 17], 1(Aux)SAG 16 Feb 17, CFS/'B' Sqn 6 Mar 17, Pilots Badge 3 Apr 17, emb for France & 60 Sqn (Nieuport 17) 11 Apr 17, kao 14 Apr 17. Beaumont Communal Cemetery - at North end, Pas-de-Calais, France. Son of Joseph Henry & Elizabeth Mary Cock (née Symons), of Nelson.

As can be seen, he was a complete novice and had little opportunity to shoot down anything.

Thanks for the Harkness/Cock connection, something I was previously unaware of.

Cheers,
Errol
Somehow I knew you'd have the answer to my question, Errol. Many thanks for your most complete response! I suspected he was a novice flyer but he did survive the Gallipoli Campaign as a rifleman and that's remarkable in itself. With your kind permission, I will include your information in the book I'm writing on DE Harkness. By the way, Harkness and Cock went to Nelson College together and may have been friends for much longer. He was well known by the Harkness family and his loss hit them almost as hard as it did the Cock family.
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Old 23 February 2012, 03:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Obviously 60. Sqdn. had the bad luck to run into Jasta 11 that day. Most probably Cock became the 14. kill of Lt. Kurt Wolff, who shot down a Nieuport at 9.20 a.m SE Drocourt.
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Old 23 February 2012, 03:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Immo_Frese View Post
Obviously 60. Sqdn. had the bad luck to run into Jasta 11 that day. Most probably Cock became the 14. kill of Lt. Kurt Wolff, who shot down a Nieuport at 9.20 a.m SE Drocourt.
There is a good description of this occasion with a biography of John Herbert Cock in:

Under the guns of the Kaiser's Aces-Böhme, Müller, von Tutschek and Wolff, - The Complete Record Of Their Victories And Victims by Franks and Giblin

Regards

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Old 23 February 2012, 07:39 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Wow, to think he was killed by the infamous Jasta 11. The lad never stood a chance. Thank you all, for this information!

I think I will order up a copy of Under the Guns.
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Old 23 February 2012, 10:20 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpres View Post
Wow, to think he was killed by the infamous Jasta 11. The lad never stood a chance. Thank you all, for this information!

I think I will order up a copy of Under the Guns.
Hey kmpres,

please check your private messages! (Top right, under your name)

Regards

Rainer
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Last edited by Raineranton; 23 February 2012 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 23 February 2012, 12:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmpres View Post
Somehow I knew you'd have the answer to my question, Errol. Many thanks for your most complete response! I suspected he was a novice flyer but he did survive the Gallipoli Campaign as a rifleman and that's remarkable in itself. With your kind permission, I will include your information in the book I'm writing on DE Harkness. By the way, Harkness and Cock went to Nelson College together and may have been friends for much longer. He was well known by the Harkness family and his loss hit them almost as hard as it did the Cock family.
No problem if you wish to use the info.

Yes, tragic that he as a Main Body man he survived the Gallipoli disaster only to lose his life so quickly on the Western Front.

Nearly 30 New Zealand WWI airmen were Nelson College old boys.

Errol
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Old 23 February 2012, 12:07 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raineranton View Post
There is a good description of this occasion with a biography of John Herbert Cock in:

Under the guns of the Kaiser's Aces-Böhme, Müller, von Tutschek and Wolff, - The Complete Record Of Their Victories And Victims by Franks and Giblin

Regards

Rainer
Could someone please copy to me the Cock biography that appears in the above-mentioned book?

Errol
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Old 23 February 2012, 12:20 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Could someone please copy to me the Cock biography that appears in the above-mentioned book?

Errol
Somebody could.

I'd sent you a pm.

Regards

Rainer
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