Heycock, Charles Wallis

He was the elder son of Morris Sadler Heycock MC and Kathleen Mary Heycock, of Corner House, Gerrard’s Cross, Buckinghamshire. He was the brother of Edward Alfred Heycock (H 1935-40) and Morris Hensman Heycock (H 1942- 1946), and nephew of the Reverend S.A. McDowall (Staff 1906-1934, Chaplain from 1915).

From Baymount, Dublin, he came to Culver’s Close (Mr. Robinson’s house).  He came to play a leading part in the life of the House, and was made a Commoner Prefect in 1937. From his early days he had been devoted to Natural History, and he soon made his mark at Winchester as an ornithologist, winning the Natural History Prize in 1937, doing much valuable work as the Society’s Secretary and training younger enthusiasts to follow in his steps. According to his housemaster, writing in The Times, Heycock’s death “has cut short a career of real promise. He was a born naturalist and from childhood a great lover of birds. As a schoolboy at Winchester he soon set to work on original research, and lifelong experts were surprised to find themselves learning from the observations of a boy of fifteen. It was an inspiring sight to see him on a summer afternoon dashing off on his quest, heavily accoutred with all manner of gadgets, and generally at a run. During his last years at school he… spent much time developing the Nature Reserve in the water meadows of the Itchen.”

In 1936 he took part in the Public Schools exploration expedition to Finnish Lapland, and to Newfoundland in the following year, bringing back valuable records and birds’ skins for the British Museum. An essay written in 1938  won him the Silver Medal offered for public school entrants by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. In the same year he went up to King’s College, Cambridge, where he became Secretary of the University Bird Club.

In 1939 he joined the Royal Tank Corps and, after obtaining a commission in the 9th Lancers, served for a year in Libya, from where he wrote home letters full of observations of North African bird life.

Heycock was killed on 30th May 1942 during the battle for Tobruk, and is buried in grave I.F.12 of the Tobruk War Cemetery.

War: World War 2

  • Surname: Heycock
  • Forenames or initials: Charles Wallis
  • House: H
  • Years in School: 1932-1938
  • Rank: Lieutenant
  • Regiment: 9th Queen's Own Royal Lancers
  • Date of Birth: 3rd November 1919
  • Date of Death: 30th May 1942
  • How Died: Killed in Action
  • Location in War Cloister: Inner A1
  • Decoration: NA
  • Burial Site: Tobruk War Cemetery, Tunisia: Grave I.F.12