John Thomas Hiscock

Date of birth: 14th April 1891
Place of birth: Sherbrook, Quebec, Canada
Regiment: Royal Marine Light Infantry
Vessel: HMS Hampshire
Rank / Service No: Private, PO/16986
Died: 5th June 1916, aged 25 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


John was the oldest of 6 siblings born to Thomas and Harriet Hiscock (nee Locke).


Evidence of their marriage has been impossible to find, but they may well have sealed their union in Canada.

The reason for the couple spending so long in Canada is not clear but, when they returned in 1897, the family lived at Pound Street, Bitterne.


Thomas was born in Wellow in 1867 and he died in Bitterne in 1899, aged just 32 years.

Harriet was born in Totnes in 1871 and she remarried in 1907… William Henry Hughes, in Bitterne. The couple had 2 daughters.


John Thomas 

James Henry   b. 1892 Quebec   d. 1941 Brentford   Married Kate M. Jarrett in Southampton in 1914.

George Edward   b. 1893 Quebec   d. 1974 Southampton   Married Renee V. Mockett in Southampton in 1921.

Frederick Arthur   b. 5 April 1896 Quebec   d. 1988 Surrey Married Matilda R. Davies in Southampton in 1915.

Oliver   b. 1898 Bitterne   d. 1957 Leeds

Thomas   b. 1900 Bitterne d. 1980 Romsey Married Emily Healey in Southampton in 1922.


John married Dorothy Handford in Southampton in the first quarter of 1916, which meant they were together for a maximum of 4 months.


Dorothy was born in Gosport in 1891 and she remarried, to Sydney Joliffe, on the Isle of Wight in 1924. the couple had 2 children.

Dorothy passed away in Lewisham in 1976.


HMS Hampshire was completed on 15 July 1905 in Newcastle. She was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet, together with her sister ships.


She had a refit in Portsmouth in 1908 but was then put on reserve. She was recommissioned in December 1911 and assigned to the 6th Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet and was transferred to the China Station in 1912.


She saw plenty of action in the South China Sea after the outbreak of war. At the end of 1914, Hampshire acted as an escort for an ANZAC troop convoy through the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to Egypt.

After a refit in Gibralter and escort duty off the Russian coast, Hampshire participated in a minor way in the Battle of Jutland with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron on 31 May 1916.


Immediately after the battle, Hampshire was ordered to carry Lord Kitchener from Scapa Flow on a diplomatic mission to Russia via the port of Archangelsk.

Because of bad weather, Hampshire was sent through the Pentland Firth to the Orkneys so that her escort of destroyers could keep up with her.


However the wind turned direction and the escort lost touch. The Captain of the Hampshire ordered the destroyers to return to Scapa Flow, believing submarines would not be operating in such adverse weather.


When off the coast of the mainland of Orkney on 5 June at 19.40, an explosion occurred and she heeled to starboard.

She had struck one of several mines laid by U-75 on 28/29 May, just before the Battle of Jutland.


The lifeboats were smashed against the side of the vessel on lowering, because of the heavy seas. About 15 minutes after the explosion, Hampshire sank by the bows.


Only 12 crewmen survived from a crew of 655 and 7 passengers; Andrew and Kitchener plus his staff were lost.


There is conjecture that a member of Kitchener’s staff (known as Count Boris Zakrevsky) was in fact a Boer (and German spy) Fritz Joubert Duquesne, and that he had organized the sinking of Hampshire.


He was then rescued by U-75 as Hampshire sank. This story cannot be verified, but it certainly adds a note of intrigue to the tragedy.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 29th September 2016


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