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 dirgible 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.
The destroyer Lewis Hancock (DD-675), of 1943-1967, was named in honor of Lieutenant Commander Hancock.
This page features the only view we have concerning Lewis Hancock, Jr.
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Photo #: NH 52770
USS Shenandoah (ZR-1)
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, Commanding Officer;
Lieutenant Commander Lewis Hancock, Jr., Executive Officer;
Lieutenant John B. Lawrence;
Lieutenant Arthur R. Houghton; and
Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Edgar W. Sheppard.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 181KB; 740 x 530 pixels
Page made 28 February 2005