A work in progress – the fuller biographies will emerge in due course: please sign up to the Newsletter (bottom of the page) and we’ll let you know when we’ve done more justice in writing up our extraordinary signatories.
Mrs Margaret HANCOCK née Williams for all BRITISH NURSING STAFF particularly in LONDON during and beyond the BLITZ.
Born in 1919 and from Crynant, a village near Neath, South Wales, Mary began nursing at Ongar Cottage Hospital and then Savernake, Wiltshire before the full three and a half year training at King’s Denmark Hill in March 1938 where the intake was only ten each quarter. There was no pay, only board and lodging for the first three months. The hospital kept operating through the raids and was fortunate to escape the bombs, which flattened mush of the surrounding houses and buildings. After the worst of the Blitz, Mary had a full year in Edinburgh on midwifery and then returned to London.
On night duties they would do three months on the trot with one day off every month and the pay was £18 compared with eight nights off for every seven for nurses in the mid 1990s. Returning to King’s in 1944 it would then be the V-1 doodlebugs and the V-2 rockets causing their war casualties. In late summer 1944, Mary joined the Princess Mary’s RAF Nursing Service and became a Flying Officer Sister, first at Ely and then St Athan, where VJ-Day was celebrated.
Then she was posted out to Japan at Iwakuni and Miho near Hiroshima, where she would meet and marry Sqn Ldr N W Pat Hancock DFC, then OC 11 Squadron with Spitfire FR18s at Miho. Pat started on the Fairey Battles of 266 Squadron, then with No.1(F) Sqn Hurricanes in France and Battle of Britain, as Flt Cdr on 185 Sqn and OC 250 Kittyhawks in the Western Desert – after 11 Squadron and return to UK he would command 33 Squadron Hornets in the Far East and retired after 20 years in 1959 as a Wing Commander later becoming the long serving Hon Sec of the Battle of Britain Fighter Association.