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  • Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
Person Details
Also COKAYNE (Registers of Soldiers' Effects & Medal Roll, Marriage Index and other civil records) William Cockayne was the son of Francis and Elizabeth Cockayne (née Walker). His father was born in Derby and his mother in Nottingham. They were married at Sneinton St Luke on 31 August 1879 and had eleven children of whom seven survived infancy or childhood: Caroline birth registered 1881 (J/F/M) bap. Nottingham St Saviour 6 August 1880 (sic), Francis (Frank) b. 1882, Arthur b. 1886, Charles (Charley) b. 1888, Sarah Elizabeth b. abt 1889, William b. abt. 1893 and Florence (Florrie) b. 1895. Three of the children, Francis, Arthur and Charles, were baptised at Nottingham St Peter on 4 March 1888. In 1881 Elizabeth (21), a silk spinner, and her first child, Caroline, were living in Canal Yard, Canal Street, Nottingham, in the household of a widow, Ann Tucker, also a silk spinner, and her son. However, in 1891 she and Francis (33), a fitter (bicycle maker) were living on Clifton Street, Nottingham, with their five children Caroline, Francis, Arthur, Charles and Sarah. In 1901 Francis, now a mechanical engineer on his own account, and his wife were living at 26 Rancliffe Street, Nottingham, with their seven children, Caroline, and Francis, Arthur and Charles who were all mechanical engineers, presumably working with their father, and Sarah, William and Florence. Also in the household was Elizabeth's widowed mother, Jane Walker. However, according to Arthur's army service record when he enlisted in the Militia in 1902, his father Francis had left the family home and was living off Camden Road, London, while his wife was still living at 26 Rancliffe Road. His sons military records indicate that by the time they enlisted they had probably lost touch with their father whose address was given as either 'not known' or 'London.' Elizabeth, now working as a charwoman, was living with her youngest daughter, Florence, a cardboard box maker, at 9 Lowes Place, Leenside, Nottingham, in 1911. Her two other daughters were married, Caroline to Henry Wheatcroft in 1901 and Sarah Elizabeth to Ernest Gay in 1909 and both were living in Nottingham with their respective families. Francis jnr. was living in Skelmerdale, Lancashire, where he was working as a miner. He was a boarder in the household of another miner and his family, but Francis's wife, Sarah Elizabeth (née Ball, m. Nottingham St Peter 1904), and their two children later joined him and the family settled permanently in Lancashire. Arthur, then a harness maker (Jardine Works, Nottingham), had attested in the Militia (4th Notts & Derby Regiment) in July 1902 transferring from the 1st Bn Notts Rifle Volunteers, but later that year transferred to the Army Service Corps. In 1911 Arthur, a saddler (corporal) ASC, his wife Mary Jane (née Archer m. Woolwich 1908) and their two daughters were living in Woolwich, Kent, where they were still living in 1939. William had already joined the Sherwood Foresters and was serving with the 2nd Battalion in Plymouth, Devon. Charles has not yet been traced on the 1911 Census, but he joined the Grenadier Guards in July 1912 on a 12 year engagement (3 years with the Colours, 9 years in the Reserve). William married Elizabeth Birch (b. 1896) in 1918 (reg. J/F/M Nottingham, Cokayne). William's three brothers also served in the war. Arthur had been a regular soldier in the Army Service Corps before the war as had Charles who served in the Grenadier Guards (15954 Private). Charles served at home from 12 July 1912 to 18 October 1914 and then with the BEF France from 19 October 1914 to 15 March 1915 (148 days). He was wounded in the foot on 15 March, returned to England on 16 March for treatment and was discharged, 'no longer physically fit for war service,' on 3 June 1916 having served a total of 3 years 327 days. Francis jnr., a miner, who was living in St Helens, first attested on 4 September 1914 (12595 Private, South Lancashire Regiment) but was discharged 'medically unfit' on 17 November 1914. He attested again on 13 February 1915 (24998 Private, 17th (Service) Bn. The Liverpool Regiment), and joined the battalion in Prescot, Lancashire, the same day. However, he was discharged on 22 February, again on the grounds of being medically unfit for war service. It is likely that Francis jnr. had also lost touch with his parents and siblings as when Charles attested in 1912 and named his parents and three brothers as his next of kin he gave his father's address as 'not known (London)' and Francis junior's address as 'not known (Liverpool).' Elizabeth probably died in 1932.
Regular soldier. In 1911 he was serving with the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters at Crownhill Hutments, Plymouth, Devon.
14 Oct 1918
1629152 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Nottingham
15th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Also COKAYNE (Registers of Soldiers' Effects & Medal Roll and Marriage Index) William enlisted in the regular army prior to 1911 by which time he was serving with the 2nd Bn Sherwood Foresters (10702 Private) at Crownhill Hutments, Plymouth, Devon. He was serving with the 15th Bn Sherwood Foresters at the time of his death. The 15th (Service) Battalion (Nottingham) had been raised in Nottingham by the Lord Mayor and a Committee in February 1915 as a Bantam Battalion and served with the BEF France from February 1916. However, William had previously been attached to other battalions of the regiment (service number 10702): 2nd Bn Notts & Derby Regiment. Sergeant 9th Bn. Notts & Derby Regiment. 1st Bn Notts & Derby Regiment. 16th Bn. Notts & Derby Regiment. William served with the British Expeditionary Force France from 8 September 1914. He was killed in action on 14 October 1918 and although it is not known where he died his death occurred on the first day of the Battle of Courtrai, one of a series of offensives in northern France and southern Belgium during the final advance in Flanders, in which the 15th Bn took part. William has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. The memorial forms the north-eastern boundary of Tyne Cot Cemetery. CWGC: 'The Tyne Cot Memorial is one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. Broadly speaking, the Salient stretched from Langemarck in the north to the northern edge in Ploegsteert Wood in the south, but it varied in area and shape throughout the war.' (www.cwgc.org) He qualified for the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
William's sister, Sarah Elizabeth, married Ernest Gay in 1909. Both Ernest and his brother, Albert Daniel, were killed in 1915, Ernest serving with the Somerset Light infantry and Albert with the Sherwood Foresters. (See records on this Roll of Honour) Nottingham Evening Post: 'Cokayne. Killed in action 14 October 1918, Sergeant W Cokayne, Sherwood Foresters, husband of Elizabeth Cokayne, wife and family. Willie Cokayne, late of Leenside, mother, sisters, brothers, Arthur in France.' Registers of Soldiers' Effects: His wife Elizabeth was his legatee.
Remembered on


  • Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)
    William Cockayne - Commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium. (www.cwgc.org)