John Cocker lived at 27 Brook Street, Stourbridge, and was well known as the Scoutmaster of the St. John's Troop. He enlisted in the Worcesters in February 1916 and joined the 1st Battalion. This battalion fought on the Somme during 1916 and in the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917. During the German Spring offensives of 1918 it was engaged in the long retreat across the Somme battlefield in March and in the defence of Villers-Bretonneux in April. After this long ordeal it was sent to the quiet sector of the Aisne. However, the final German offensive fell on this sector in May. The German assault composed 29 divisions against only 9 of the Allies and it started on the 27th May at 5 a.m. The Northamptons in the first line were swept away and the Worcesters in the second line fared little better. Any opportunity for holding a defensive line was denied by fresh German troops entering the battle and outflanking the British. The C.O., Major Cartland, was killed and the battalion reduced to isolated groups struggling to withdraw. Eventually the German attack was halted, but at a very heavy cost for the Worcesters amounting to 29 officers and 589 men. Among the missing on the 27th May was Lance Corporal John Cocker. He was wounded and taken prisoner but died on the 6th June. He is buried at Sisonne British Cemetery (B 8) and commemorated on the Stourbridge, St. John's church and St. Thomas's church Memorials.
Mary Stevens Park, Stourbridge, West Midlands, United Kingdom
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