An accountant by profession, Robert Willcock was the brother of fellow lawn tennis player Edgar Willcock. Robert Willcock was also a gifted cricketer and footballer, and played both sports during his time as a pupil at Wolverhampton Grammar School. In July 1916, he was killed in action during the Battle of the Somme while serving with the British Army.
Robert Cecil Willcock was born in 1885, the son of Henry and Agnes Anne Willcock (née Walker). In the 1891 census he was living with his parents, brothers Harry and Douglas Edgar, aunts Harriett and Elizabeth Walker and servants Sarah Lea and Elizabeth Page at 53 Darlington Street. By the 1901 census the family had moved to “Merridale”, on the Compton Road. The family had had a daughter, Agnes, and were joined in the house by Robert’s grandmother Sarah Willcock, and by three servants, Mary Baker, Margaret Green and Ann Seymour.
They were at the same address (with a different set of servants) in 1911. Robert attended Wolverhampton Grammar School from 1894 to 1904, and there is a detailed description of his time there on their website commemorating World War One casualties from the school. Robert became an accountant after leaving school.
Robert Willcock enlisted with the 14th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and became a Corporal (service number 285), serving in France. He was killed in action on 23 July 1916 at Delville Wood. He was in A Company, and his battalion was part of the 13th Brigade 5th Division. The A & B Companies took 485 casualties in their attack on Wood Lane, including Robert. He is commemorated on the memorial at Thiepval. He is also commemorated on the War memorial in St Peter’s Church.
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