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Roll Call Colour Sergeant John Hocknull 13 January 1923 – 12 January 1993

John Hocknull was born in Glasgow in 1923 and served with both the Black Watch and Airborne Forces.

He enlisted as a Boy Soldier into The Black Watch, based in Perth in 1938 and in the same year he attained his 3rd Class Army Certificate of Education. In September 1939, he was posted to the Infantry Training Centre. On attaining the age of seventeen and a half he was posted to the ranks as a Private within the 1st Battalion of The Black Watch and was promoted to Lance Corporal in April 1941. A month later he was promoted again to Acting Corporal, and  he was confirmed in this rank in August 1941.

In February 1942, he transferred to the 1st Battalion, Highland Regiment where he was promoted to Sergeant but returned to The Black Watch two months later to No 8 Infantry Training Centre. In September of the same year, he was posted to the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion. John Hocknull embarked with other members of the 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion as part of the British North Africa Force in April 1943.

In February 1944, he was reported missing whilst serving in Italy, becoming a prisoner of war in Stalag 7A. At the beginning of May 1945, following the camp's liberation, John Hocknull was repatriated to the UK. He married Georgine Holmes at the end of that year.

In January 1946, he was promoted to Acting Colour Sergeant, and went on to complete his Pay Duties Course at No 4 Command School, Salisbury. In June, his rank of Colour Sergeant was confirmed. John Hocknull was granted parachutist's pay in March 1947. His daughter was born shortly after in the July, at Louise Margaret Hospital, Aldershot. In October, he was promoted to Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 and completed a course in Military Administration.

The following year he undertook a course in Army Drill and returned to the Highland Brigade Group (Black Watch) in July 1948, resuming his rank of Colour Sergeant. A month later his son was born. In October of that year he went to BAOR and in July 1949 was attached to HQ 2nd Division where he passed his Army Certificate of Education 2nd Class.

Having returned to the Airborne Forces Depot for a short period of time, he was attached to 16th (Lincoln) Independent Company in October 1950, where he passed his MT Driving Test. In February 1952, he completed a Parachute Course at Abingdon and passed his Army Certificate of Education 1st Class in the following month. In October of that year, his second son was born whilst the family was in Lincoln.

In June 1953, he was again posted to the Airborne Forces Depot for a short period of time before embarking with 16 Independent Parachute Brigade to Middle East Land Forces (MELF) in July. Whilst in MELF he was promoted to Warrant Officer Class 2. However, whilst on a Skiing Course in Lebanon in December 1953, he sustained a serious injury.

In May 1954, he returned to the UK on the advance party, landing at Stansted. In December of that year, John Hocknull transferred to 2 PARA.  and returned to MELF in July 1956 with the battalion. In November of that year, he was transferred to Camp Admin Staff at Waynes Keep and was reduced in rank to Colour Sergeant. A month later he returned to the Airborne Forces Depot in the UK where he remained until his discharge in April 1957. A few years after his discharge, John Hocknull joined the RAF, leaving 14 years later as a Flight Sergeant.

John Hocknull passed away on 12 January 1993.

By Rebecca Skinner

Airborne Forces service history

1938-1940 The Black Watch, (Boy Soldier)
1940-1941 The Black Watch, (Private)
1941-1942 The Highland Regiment, (Acting Sergeant)
1942 The Black Watch, (Acting Sergeant)
1942-1948 5th (Scottish) Parachute Battalion, (Acting Company Sergeant Major)
1948-1949 The Black Watch, (Colour Sergeant)
1949-1950 HQ 2nd Division, (Colour Sergeant)
1950-1953 16th Lincoln Company (V), (Colour Sergeant)
1953-1954 16th Parachute Brigade, (Acting Company Sergeant Major)
1954-1956 The 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment (2 PARA), (Acting Company Sergeant Major)
1956-1957 Depot The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces, (Colour Sergeant)
1959-1973 Royal Air Force, (Flight Sergeant)

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