Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (26 March 2009)

Date of Auction: 26th March 2009

Sold for £2,800

Estimate: £1,800 - £2,200

The Peninsular War Medal to Sergeant Joseph Hancock, 74th Foot, a veteran of the Siege of Seringapatam, the second Mahratta Wars and some of the bloodiest engagements of the Napoleonic Wars

Military General Service 1793-1814, 4 clasps, Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca (J. Hancock, Serjt. 74th Foot) edge bruising, otherwise good very fine £1800-2200


Joseph Hancock was born in the Parish of Trinity, York, and enlisted into the 74th on 1 April 1788, aged 15 years. He embarked for India as a Drummer Boy in February 1789 and arrived at Madras on 24 June 1789. In India Hancock participated in the third and fourth Mysore Wars, culminating in the storming of Seringapatam in May 1799, and in the second Mahratta War, when the 74th took part in the assault of Ahmednuggar, the battles of Assye and Argaum, and the storming of Gawilghur. Of nearly 500 officers and men who fought during this campaign, only one officer and 19 men survived to claim the Army of India medal, including Joseph Hancock who received clasps for Assye, Argaum, and Gawilghur

Hancock was promoted to Sergeant in April 1803, and returned to England with his regiment in February 1806. After service at home, he embarked with the 74th for the Peninsula in January 1810 and took part in the battle of Busaco, the storming of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz, and the battle of Salamanca. Hancock appears to have fallen sick in about June 1814 and returned home the following October. He was discharged at Galway on 30 January 1815, in consequence of ‘general infirmity and length of service,’ and sent to pension at Kilmainham Hospital. Sold with copy discharge papers and muster details.