yeovil at War

Henry Albert Hockey

Killed two days before the Armistice


Henry Albert Hockey, known as Harry, was born in Yeovil in the summer of 1894. He was the son of train stoker Henry Hockey (b1875, Yeovil) and his wife Mary Hannah (b1871, Chard). They had four children - all born in Yeovil - although one died in infancy; Harry, Agnes May (b1900) and Ivy Florence (b1905).

 In the 1901 census the family were listed living at 6 North Terrace, Newtown. Henry gave his occupation as a railway engine stoker. In the 1911 census the family were living at 14 Victoria Avenue, Chard. 16-year old Harry gave his occupation as an engineer's clerk at Phoenix Engineering, Chard. Henry and Margaret, with their family, later moved to Pen Field, Sherborne Road.

Harry enlisted at Yeovil on 11 April 1918, joining 'B' Company, 32nd Battalion, Machine Gun Corps (Infantry). His Service Number was 171526.

During the summer of 1918, at Chard, Harry married Ida Sophie Hutchings of Wadeford, Chard.

On 9 October 1918 Harry was drafted to France with his unit. Sadly, just one month later, Harry was killed by the explosion of a mine on 9 November 1918 - just two days before the Armistice. He was 24 years old.

The Western Gazette, in its edition of 29 November 1918, reported "The deepest sympathy is expressed with Mr and Mrs Hockey, of Pen Field, Sherborne Road, who during the armistice rejoicing, received the news of the death of their son Private H Hockey of the Machine Gun Corps, who was killed only two days before the cessation of hostilities. The deceased was well known, and the news of his death at the age of 24 years, was received with regret. He had only been married about five months. The news was received by Mrs Hockey through a letter from the Major of her husband’s Company who, writing expressing sympathy with her in the heavy blow she had sustained, says he was instantly killed with several of his comrades by the explosion of a mine near Avensnes, a town which he had gallantly helped to capture, and was buried with several others in a field near the town. The late Private Hockey joined the Forces on April 11th last, and was drafted to France on October 9th, having thus served abroad only one month. The deceased was previously employed as a clerk by the Phoenix Engineering Co. Ltd., Chard, and was also a keen footballer.”

Henry Albert 'Harry' Hockey is interred in Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France - Grave D62. The inscription on Harrys' headstone reads "Beloved husband of Ida S. Hockey in dear memory ' Until the day break' ". Harry's name is recorded on the War Memorial in the Borough.




Units belonging to the Machine Gun Corps were photographed by professional civilian photographers who visited the training camps on a regular basis.


The Commonwealth War Graves Commission certificate in memory of Henry Albert 'Harry' Hockey.


Maubeuge-Centre Cemetery, Nord, France.

Maubeuge possessed a French military aerodrome, and it was H.Q., R.F.C., from the 16th to the 23rd August 1914. It was captured by the Germans on the 7th September, 1914, and it remained in their hands until it was entered by the 3rd Grenadier Guards in the early morning of the 9th November, 1918. The 5th, 47th Casualty Clearing Stations were posted in the town for different periods between the end of November 1918, and the middle of May 1919. The "Cimetiere Communal du Centre" one of the town cemeteries, was used by the Germans; it contained at Armistice the graves of German soldiers and British, French, American, Russian, Italian and Rumanian prisoners. These have been to a great extent regrouped, removed, or increased in number by concentrations from other burial grounds; and the British and other war graves are now mainly in the South part. One hundred and five were brought in after the Armistice from the battlefields west of Maubeuge. There are now 185 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war commemorated here, 6 being unidentified. There are a further 65 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-45 war commemorated in this site. From the 1939-45 War, three United Kingdom graves could not be precisely located and are commemorated by special memorials, inscribed "buried near this spot". There are 105 French and 1 Russian burials here. The British plot covers an area of 645 square metres.