Memoriam: Private John William Lowcock

While researching my family history I discovered Private John William Lowcock.

In honor of his memory and service, I am sharing the information I discovered. I also wish to acknowledge the help of Matthew Hyland from the UK, a descendant of John William Lowcock who graciously shared some of the records on this page. The Lowcock surname seems to be quite common in Lancashire even to this day.

Private John William Lowcock (Rifleman)

Birth: April 1886, St Helens Lancashire.
10th August 1916 (Battle of the Somme – Killed in Action)

Below is a photo of JW Lowcock.

John William Lowcock (photo)

Grave: Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 7 A and 7 B
Note: Thiepval Memorial is a memorial to the missing from the Somme. There is no grave for John, he is listed on the memorial wall. A photo of the inscription, courtesy of Find A Grave, is below, JW Lowcock is on the lower right quadrant.

JW Lowcock War Memorial Inscription

Conflict: World War I
Rank: Private, Rifleman
Service Number: 240933
Unit: 1st/5th Batallion, South Lancashire Regiment


Rifleman Lowcock was awarded the British War Medal. If you have details of the Lowcock War medal or information on the whereabouts, please let me know.

In 2017, one of John William Lowcock’s Medals was sold at auction. I did not know of the auction at the time, but courtesy of the auction archive below is an image of John’s medal and the inscription.JW Lowcock Victory Medal

JW Lowcock Victory Medal Inscription 1

JW Lowcock Victory Medal Inscription 2


The photos below, courtesy of Matthew Hyland, include John William Lowcock’s Medal Index Card and a reference to John William Lowcock in the Medal Roll. The inscription on the medal matches the index card record below.

John William Lowcock Medal Index Card

John William Lowcock Medal Roll

Military Service

A write-up of the day and batle prior to John William Lowcock’s death and the battle can be found on the Prescott Roll of Honour. (PDF)

9th August 1916
2:00 am
Commanding Officer with Adjutant arrived at proposed Bn HQ A5d 89 and found 2 Bts 165 Inf Bde (5th and 7th King’s Liverpool) in possession. Informed 166 Inf Bde HQ and were able to move up to Sunken Road T30C.
3:00 am
Established HQ in Sunken Road. Company Officers warned of change HQ and sent for to explain
changed scheme of attack as issued in operation orders. No time to go into detail or for Coy
Commander to explain to Coy Officers and NCO’s as attack was timed for 4:30 am. Owing to all NCO’s and Bn and Coy runners having no idea of the country and the Sunken Road being crowded with men of 164 Bde, great delay was caused in getting the Coys out in position.
3:55 am
North Lancs just arriving and Officer in Command said he had only just heard they were going to attack
4:15 am
Our guns opened a heavy barrage and the Germans dropped their barrage within 3 minutes. Their back barrage line being on Sunken Road. Companies not all in position had to move this barrage. Those in position moved forward behind assaulting waves but whole line was unable to make headway owing to machine gun fire and heavy barrage. Whole line fell back and manned our original front line. Coys hopelessly intermixed with men of other attacking Battalions.1/5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment
12:00 Noon
Orders to withdraw Cots from line and relieve 1/5th Loyal North Lancs in Left Sector in front of Trones Wood. Relief complete 5:00 pm. 5th Kings Own relieved 10th Liverpool Regt on our right also during afternoon.

10th August 1916
Battalion worked hard clearing trenches and consolidating line.
4:00 pm
Relief started by 8th West Kent Regt 72nd Bde. Relief complete 8:00 pm and Bn moved back to Bivouacs in F22. Total casualties from 12 midnight the 8th until 12 midnight the 10th, 8 Officers 130 Other Ranks.

John William Lowcock is subsequently listed amongst the casualties, placing his day of death sometime between the 9-10th of August.

Wikipedia has a write-up on the South Lancashire Regiment where John served as a Rifleman in the 1st/5th Batallion. From Wikipedia:

The 55th Division entered the Somme sector in August 1916, occupying part of the line around Fricourt, and later took part in the following battles of the Somme offensiveGuillemontGinchyFlers-Courcelette and Morval. The 166th Bde was in reserve for the start of 55th Division’s attack on Guillemont, but continued the attack on 9 August, with 1/5th Bn in support (John William Lowcock’s unit). 166th Bde’s attackers became entangled with the troops who had made the previous attack, and 1/5th Bn’s (John William Lowcock’s unit) supporting companies became hopelessly mixed up with them under shellfire. Later that day it was pushed forward to consolidate a new position in front of Trônes Wood.

John William Lowcock passed away August 9-10th.

On 13 August, ‘D’ company took part in a minor operation against an isolated trench, but the adjacent French attack failed, and the operation was unsuccessful. When the battalion was relieved on 15 August, it had suffered over 80 casualties for no advantage. 55th Division returned to the line in front of Delville Wood on 4 September, where 1/5th Bn was kept busy digging communication trenches and strongpoints. On 8 September an attack by a neighbouring brigade elicited a violent counter-attack that almost broke through the battalion’s barricade near Delville Wood. It spent the night building new strongpoints in front of its line, and when it withdrew it had suffered another 160 casualties. When it went back into the line it occupied trenches that had already been taken in the Battle of Flers-Courcelette, nor was 1/5th Bn involved in 55th Division’s actions in the Battle of Morval. The division let the Somme sector at the end of September.

John William Lowcock Family History

John is listed in records as being married to Elizabeth Lowcock (nee Hayes) and having 5 children. John and Elizabeth married on the 30th Sept 1905 at Prescot Register Office. That said, Ancestry lists the marriage as Christ Church, Lancashire.

  • John William Lowcock b. 1885 d. 10.08.1916
  • Elizabeth Lowcock (nee Hayes) b. ~1886
    • Nellie Lowcock b. 25 Feb 1906
    • Elizabeth Lowcock b. 10 March 1908
    • Hannah Lowcock b. 22 Feb 1910
    • Alfred Lowcock b. 20 Sep 1912
    • Edith Lowcock b. 26 Jan 1915

John was working as a Warehouse Laborer prior to the war. His residence was 30 Clyde Street, St Helens, Lancashire.

John William Lowcock’s parents and siblings were

  • Father. Alfred Lowcock b. Oct 1859 d. 1893
  • Mother. Hannah (nee Norris) Lowcock
    • Elizabeth Ann Lowcock b. April 1886 d. 13 November 1957
      Elizabeth was Johns’ twin sister. Elizabeth married William Kay.
    • Alfred Lowcock (younger brother) b.unknown

John also has step-siblings as his mother remarried after the death of his Father.

As a child, John William Lowcock lived at 11 Ardwick Street, Parr, St Helens.

Again, thanks to Matthew Hyland, below is John Lowcock’s War Pension Record. This verifies John’s next of kin.

John William Lowcock Pension Card


An unrelated Alfred Lowcock from Australia also served in the war.


  1. St Helens Roll of Honor
  2. Matthew Hyland
  3. Find A Grave
  4. Wikipedia

Lowcock Family History

If you would like to learn more about the Lowcock surname and family history, please visit the Lowcock History page.

You can learn more about Lowcock Genealogy, or specific Lowcock family member:

If you are researching Lowcock Family History and can help – visit the help needed page. If you want to understand the distribution of the Lowcock surname in the UK, visit the Lowcock map page. Just interested in the images and photos? Visit the Lowcock Genealogy Pinterest page.

This page is maintained by Joshua Lowcock.

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