LEWIS HANCOCK, JR., LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Lewis Hancock, Jr. '10

Date of birth: October 15, 1889

Date of death: September 3, 1925

Age: 35

Lucky Bag

From the 1910 Lucky Bag:


Biography

Five of the airship's officers, all of whom were killed when she crashed on 3 September 1925. Halftone reproduction of a photograph taken at Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey, some time prior to the tragedy, and published in the "Evening Star", Washington, D.C., Friday, 4 September 1925.Those present are (left to right): Lieutenant Commander Zachary Lansdowne '09, Commanding Officer; Lieutenant Commander Lewis Hancock, Jr. '10, Executive Officer; Lieutenant John B. Lawrence; Lieutenant Arthur R. Houghton; and Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edgar W. Sheppard.

From Naval History and Heritage Command:

Lewis Hancock, Jr. was born on 15 October 1889 in Austin, Texas. He was appointed to the U.S. Naval Academy from that state in 1906 and graduated in June 1910. He served in the battleship Vermont before being commissioned as an Ensign in March 1912, then underwent submarine instruction and served in the new submarine G-1. In 1913-1915 Ensign Hancock commanded the submarine C-2. Promoted to Lieutenant (Junior Grade) in 1915, he was Commanding Officer of the submarine L-4 in 1916-1918, receiving the Navy Cross for "distinguished service" in her during World War I combat operations against German U-boats. Later in 1918 Lieutenant Commander Hancock was Captain of another submarine, USS L-7. He also had wartime and post-war tours as a machinery inspector.

During the first years of the 1920s, Hancock served in the battleships Georgia and Wyoming, commanded the destroyer Sloat and had shore duty with the Navy Department and the Department of Commerce. Assigned to airship duty in 1922, he was designated a Naval Aviatior in 1924, while serving with the dirigible Shenandoah (ZR-1). Lieutenant Commander Hancock was the airship's Executive Officer when she crashed on 3 September 1925, and lost his life in that tragic accident.

His widow, Joy Bright Hancock, a long-time employee of the Bureau of Aeronautics, became one of the Navy's first women officers in 1942 and, as a Captain, was Director of the WAVES during the later 1940s and early 1950s.

Lewis is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Navy Cross

From Hall of Valor:

The President of the United States of America takes pleasure in presenting the Navy Cross to Lieutenant Commander Lewis Hancock, Jr., United States Navy, for distinguished service in the line of his profession in Command of the AL-4 during World War I. Under his command this vessel made numerous contacts with the enemy, and on one occasion attempted the dangerous feat of diving at a submerged enemy submarine to ram her.

Service: Navy
Division: U.S.S. AL-4

Namesake

USS Lewis Hancock (DD 675) was named for Lewis; the ship was sponsored by his widow.

Related Articles

Zachary Lansdowne '09 was the commanding officer of Shenandoah.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

January 1912

Midshipman, Vermont

January 1913

Ensign, G-1

January 1914

Ensign, commanding officer, C-2

January 1915

Ensign, commanding officer, USS C-2

January 1916

Lieutenant (j.g.), USS L-4

Others at this command: ENS James Webb '13.

January 1917

Lieutenant (j.g.), commanding officer, USS L-4

March 1918

Lieutenant, commanding officer, USS L-4

January 1919

Lieutenant Commander, inspection duty, Bureau of Steam Engineering

January 1920

Lieutenant Commander, USS Georgia

January 1921

Lieutenant Commander, Destroyer Force, Pacific Fleet

Others at this command: ENS John Gillon '20.

January 1922

Lieutenant Commander, commanding officer, USS Sloat

May 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

Others at this command: LT Louis Roth '13.

July 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

Others at this command: LT Louis Roth '13.

September 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

November 1923

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

January 1924

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

March 1924

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

May 1924

Lieutenant Commander, Naval Air Station Lakehurst, New Jersey

July 1924

Lieutenant Commander, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

September 1924

Ensign, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

November 1924

Ensign, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

January 1925

Lieutenant Commander, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

March 1925

Lieutenant Commander, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

May 1925

Lieutenant Commander, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.

July 1925

Lieutenant Commander, executive officer, USS Shenandoah

Others at this command: LCDR Zachary Lansdowne '09.


Class of 1910

Lewis is one of 15 members of the Class of 1910 on Virtual Memorial Hall.