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Biographical entry Hancock, William Ilbert (1873 - 1910)

MRCS Nov 12th 1896; FRCS Dec 8th 1898; LRCP Lond 1896.

Wiveliscombe, Somersetshire, UK
26 January 1910
Ophthalmic surgeon


William Ilbert Hancock ('Bertie Hancock') was born at Wiveliscombe, Somersetshire, the ninth of ten brothers - two of whom became international Rugby football players, and the rest fine athletes - sons of William Hancock. He was educated at Dulwich College and Guy's Hospital, which he entered in 1891. He was a fine athlete, of splendid physique, a first-class cricket, football, and lawn-tennis player, as well as a good shot. He played for his County and represented Guy's in all three sports whilst a student; at cricket having a bowling average of 8.89 and a batting average of 41.22. He was Captain of the Guy's football team in 1893-1894, when the International Cup was won, but missed international honours by tearing a knee cartilage just before the match in two succeeding years.

He began the study of ophthalmology in 1899 at Moorfields, and continued at the Royal London Hospital except for six months in 1902 spent in assisting Richardson Cross at Clifton, and as Clinical Assistant at the Westminster Ophthalmic Hospital. In 1903 he was elected Ophthalmic Surgeon to the East London Hospital for Children, Shadwell, and in 1906 Ophthalmic Surgeon to the Bolingbroke Hospital. At the Royal London Ophthalmic Hospital he was successively Pathologist and Clinical Assistant, and after ten years' work was appointed Assistant Surgeon in April, 1909. Concurrently he had developed a successful private practice at 27 Queen Anne Street, and distinguished himself as an operator.

Five days before his death he underwent an apparently uncomplicated operation for appendicitis, but pulmonary embolism and thrombosis suddenly caused death on Jan 26th, 1910. He married Miss Margaret Hay Sweet Escott in 1899, who survived him with four young children.

Hancock published a number of Ophthalmological Papers in the Roy. Lond. Ophthal. Hosp. Rep. and other journals.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Guy's Hosp. Gaz., 1910, 24, 54, 168, 148, with a portrait at the age of 22, and a proposal for a memorial. Brit. Med. Jour., 1910, i, 357, with a portrait at age of 37. Lancet, 1910, i, 407].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England