John Cocker was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, 1 September 1888, the son of William Pickup and Catherine Cocker. His father had also been a grocer, but in 1888 and 1901 was working in the local cotton mill as a tape sizer, where John had already joined him, as a cloth folder, by the age of 13. Although his three siblings also went to work in the cotton mill, John clearly exhibited some academic aptitude and was probably involved in his local church as he managed to escape the mill and matriculated as a Theology student at St John’s Hall in Durham in Easter term 1911. He passed his first year Theology exams in Michaelmas 1911 and his finals at in Michaelmas term 1912, and graduated with a Licence in Theology on 17 December 1912. He was ordained in Manchester diocese as a deacon in 1912 and priest in 1913, and became curate at Stowell Memorial Church in Salford, 1912-1914, and then of St George’s, Hulme, 1914-1915. He joined up as a private in 24th Royal Fusiliers (2nd Sportsman’s), and was killed in action in France on 25 April 1916. The battalion had been relieved from their trenches in front of Bully-Grenay (Bully-les-Mines), northwest of Lens, the previous day, and took up billets just behind the front line there. On 25 April some carrying parties from the battalion were tasked to support their relief, 2nd Highland Light Infantry, and Cocker was probably killed during this activity: two other privates from B Company were wounded the same day, T.H. Field and J. Vowles. Cocker is buried in Tranchee de Mecknies cemetery, Aix-Narlette in France, 2 km southwest of Bully-les-Mines, and is commemorated on the memorial plaque in the chapel of St John’s College.