George Frederick COOK

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COOK, George Frederick

Service Numbers: 2638, 2638A
Enlisted: 5 August 1915
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 9th Infantry Battalion
Born: Maryborough, Victoria on 16th March, 1891 , 16 March 1891
Home Town: Sherwood, Brisbane, Queensland
Schooling: Sherwood State School, Qld
Occupation: Carter
Died: Illness - Nephritis following Cerebro Spinal Fever, Alderney Isolation Hospital, Parkstone, Dorset, England, 24 April 1917, aged 26 years
Cemetery: Wareham Cemetery
Wareham Cemetery (Plot B, Row D, Grave No. 14), Dorset
Memorials: Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Corinda Sherwood Shire Roll of Honor, Graceville War Memorial
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World War 1 Service

5 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Private, SN 2638, 9th Infantry Battalion
21 Oct 1915: Involvement Private, SN 2638, 25th Infantry Battalion
21 Oct 1915: Embarked Private, SN 2638, 25th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Seang Bee, Brisbane
21 Jul 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Private, SN 2638, 9th Infantry Battalion, Battle for Pozières , GSW right arm
24 Apr 1917: Involvement Private, SN 2638A, 9th Infantry Battalion

Help us honour George Frederick Cook's service by contributing information, stories, and images so that they can be preserved for future generations.

Biography contributed by Evan Evans

The summary below was completed by Cathy Sedgwick – Facebook “WW1 Australian War Graves in England/UK/Scotland/Ireland

Died on this date – 24th April.... Private George Frederick Cook was born at Maryborough, Victoria in 1891. He married Elsie Matilda Heck in Queensland on 31st December, 1913. They had a son in 1914.

George Cook enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 5th August, 1915 in Brisbane, Queensland. He embarked from Brisbane on 21st October, 1915 with the 7th Infantry Brigade, 25th Infantry Battalion, 6th Reinforcements.

Private Cook was transferred to 9th Battalion & joined them at Habeita on 28th February, 1916. He proceeded to France from Alexandria on 27th March, 1916 & arrived in France on 3rd April, 1916.

Private George Frederick Cook was wounded in action on 21st July, 1916 with gunshot wounds to his right arm. He embarked for England on Hospital Ship & was admitted to 2nd Northern General Hospital, Becketts Park, Leeds on 26th July, 1916. Private Cook was transferred to No. 1 Australian Auxiliary Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex, England on 4th August, 1916.
Private Cook was posted to No. 2 Australian Command Depot, Weymouth, Dorset, England from Harefield on 6th September, 1916. He proceeded overseas to France on 14th October, 1916 & rejoined 9th Battalion in France on 17th November, 1916.

Private Cook was sent to 5th Field Ambulance on 24th December, 1916 suffering from diarrhoea & debility. He was transferred to England on 22nd January, 1917 & admitted to Reading War Hospital, England on 23rd January, 1917. He was discharged & sent on furlo on 12th March, 1917 & was to then report to Wareham.
Private Cook was sent sick to Wareham Military Hospital from No. 4 Command Depot at Wareham on 1st April, 1917 suffering from Influenza. He was transferred to Alderney Isolation Hospital, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset on 2nd April, 1917 – seriously ill with C. S. Fever.

Private George Frederick Cook died on 24th April, 1917 at Alderney Isolation Hospital, Parkstone, Dorset, England from Nephritis following Cerebro Spinal Fever.

Private George Frederick Cook was buried in Wareham Cemetery, Wareham, Dorset, England where 12 other WW1 Australian Soldiers are buried.

(The above is a summary of my research. The full research can be found by following the link below)
https://ww1austburialsuk.weebly.com/wareham---dorset.html

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Biography contributed by Faithe Jones

George Cook was 24 years old when he enlisted on 5th August 1915. He stated that he was married to Elsie Matilda Cook and they had one son, Leonard George. George’s address was Lockwood Street, Sherwood where he and his family were apparently living with his parents, Frederick and Elizabeth.

George reported he had been born in Maryborough, Victoria but his family obviously moved to Sherwood when he was young as his wife advised that George had attended Sherwood State School.

After a period of home leave, George embarked on the “Seeang Bee” in Brisbane on 21st October 1915 as a reinforcement for the 25th Battalion. By the time George arrived in Egypt the entire Australian Corps had been evacuated from Gallipoli and were in the process of expanding the size of the force from 2 divisions to 4 divisions. During this process George was transferred to the 9th Battalion; another Queensland regiment, on 4th March 1916. The 9th Battalion arrived in Marseilles on 3rd April and proceeded north by train to the “nursery sector” around Armentieres to become accustomed to fighting on the Western Front.

In July 1916, Haig (Supreme British Commander on the Western Front) launched the Somme offensive. Casualties were enormous but Haig was determined to keep up the pressure. Three of the four Australian divisions in France were deployed to the Somme. (The other division, the 5th had already suffered a mauling at Fromelles). The Australians were to go into their first major action at Pozieres and the 1st Division; which included the 9th Battalion would be first into the line on 21st July. During the assault on the village of Pozieres, George received a gunshot wound to the arm and was eventually evacuated to a military hospital in Norwich, England to recover.

George rejoined the 9th Battalion on 17th November. The brigade at that time was manning trenches around Flers and Guedecourt. Haig had closed down the front in that area as winter approached. Rather than contending with the enemy, the Australians were faced with the severest winter in 40 years. Temperatures plummeted to -15 Centigrade, and the Australians were exposed to the elements without suitable winter clothing.

George reported sick in late January 1917 and was evacuated to Reading War Hospital with nephritis (trench fever). His wife was informed that he was in hospital and telegrams sent on the 14th and 27th February informed her that George was “progressing favourably” and “improving.”On 15th March, George was still progressing favourably.

George’s condition took a turn for the worse in late March. He was admitted to Alderney Isolation Hospital in Dorset with severe cerebro spinal fever (meningitis). George lingered for three weeks but finally died on 24th April. He was buried the same day in Wareham Military Cemetery with Chaplain Harper presiding and a military escort in attendance.

George’s widow was entitled to a funeral benefit from the Loyal Sherwood Forest Lodge of the M.U.I.O.O.F. (Oddfellows Lodge or Rechabites) and a widow’s pension amounting to three pounds per fortnight for herself and young Leonard. By the time that war medals were being distributed, Elsie had remarried (Mrs Rossner) and was living in Booval, Ipswich.

George’s father, Frederick enlisted soon after his son on the 27th September 1915. He was almost 50 years old but was nevertheless drafted into a remounts unit and shipped off to Egypt. Soon after George’s death, Frederick was slated for discharge on the grounds that he was “over 45.” If age was going to be a factor, perhaps it would have been prudent to refuse Frederick at enlistment rather than ship him all the way to Egypt for the decision to be made.

Both George and Frederick Cook are commemorated on the Roll of Honour in the Sherwood Methodist (now Uniting) Church.

Courtesy of Ian Lang

Mango Hill

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