“Glory” Hancock, World War I Nurse

“Glory” Hancock with her husband. Image from Northeastern North Carolina Stories.On August 13, 1914, Madelon Battle Hancock, the most decorated nurse to serve with the Allied Forces in World War I, left for service in Antwerp, Belgium, with the first British Hospital Unit.

Hancock grew up in Asheville where her father, Westray Battle, was a prominent physician and outspoken community leader. In 1904, she married Mortimer Hancock, an officer in the British Army, and after graduating from the Presbyterian Hospital School for Nursing in New York City in 1905, moved with him to England.

Madelon, who was soon called “Glory” by the troops that she enthusiastically served, went to Belgium with the first detachment of soldiers sent into the war from Britain, and she remained in service with them for the entire war. She was often close to the battle front and survived artillery fire and gassing.

For her skilled nursing of the sick and wounded and her bravery under fire, Hancock received 12 decorations: five from Great Britain, five from Belgium and two from France.

Several letters Hancock wrote to family on the home front have survived and are archived at UNC Greensboro.

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