John Wilcock was a miner living in Merritt, British Columbia when he joined up in January 1916. He had previously served with the Royal Engineers in South Africa, and listed his brother, Peter, as next of kin. From his parents’ grave at St. Matthews, we know John was the son of Peter and Sarah Wilcock of Victoria Terrace. John had two other brothers Thomas and William and a sister Martha.
On his attestation paper John gave his birth date as 7 May 1879 which would make him 36 at the time. But John’s age was given as 7 in the 1881 census which would have made him about 42, and this is confirmed on his parents’ grave. The age limit at the time may have been 38.
His Army Records include a description of him on enlistment on the 5th January 1916. He was 5 feet 7 inches tall. His chest measurement was 37 1/2 inches with an expansion range of 3 1/2 inches. His complexion was fair, eyes blue and hair auburn. He had a triangular coal scar over his left eye. He was considered fit for the Canadian Expeditionary Force and was allocated to No 2 Tunneling Company in the Royal Engineers. He left Canada and arrived in England on the 30th January 1916 on SS Missanabie before being sent to France.
He was reported missing after action on the 2nd June 1916 and eventually it was presumed that he had died on or since that date. There’s a later note in his record that says “Now pres to have died on a mine”
North Wales Coast Pioneer, June 24th 1916
CORPORAL WILCOCK MISSING – Mr. Wm. Wilcock, manager of the Buckley Picture House, has received word from the War Office that his youngest brother, Corporal John Wilcock, of the Canadian Contingent, is missing. Corporal Wilcock had been in Canada about nine years when the war broke out. He is a second class mining engineer, and has been most successful financially. He had not long been in France, and had only been in the trenches three times before the last terrible battle the Canadians fought. His many local friends hope Mr. Wilcock will have good news of his brother soon.
John was also remembered on his parents grave at Bistre.
In loving Memory of Sarah Wilcock of Buckley who died September 25 1887 aged 56
also the above named Peter Wilcock who died July 11 1889 aged 60 years
“Thy will be done”
Also John son of the above
Killed in France June 2 1916 aged 42
Past to where beyond these voices
There is peace
Click here to view John Wilcock’s Attestation papers