The Whitton Team have “All Souls” services today (7 November 2021), the first Sunday after All Souls’ Day itself, which is on the 2 November each year. I visited St Michael’s Churchyard this morning, and paused to reflect on the past year, the deaths of those we hold dear and the memory of those gone before. November is a month for Remembrance. My thoughts turned to the fallen commemorated on the First and Second War Memorials in the village and the many other names that have come to mind since the memorials were created.
Back in 2018 for ‘Aldbourne Remembers’, Phil Comley shared his extensive research into the village fallen, in particular the group of families where brothers died during, or as a result of, the conflict. The parents who suffered these losses included Annette Cook (nee Bathe) and Charles Thomas Cook, who were living with their family on The Green, Aldbourne at the time of the 1911 Census. We know that they were resident in Castle Street by 1918 because that address appears on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission records for the death of Albert Cook.
It was a search for the Cook family grave that took me to the very top of the churchyard at St Michael’s on a bright autumn morning.
7625 Serjeant Albert Cook – 2nd Wiltshire Regiment. Born Eastbury and enlisted in Hungerford. Killed in action aged 28 – 8/5/1918 at La Paradis, France. No known grave and remembered on panels 119-120 at Tyne Cot Memorial. Son of Charles and Annette Cook of Castle Street, Aldbourne and the husband of Annie Stanley Cook of 32 Chickerell Road, Weymouth.
On the night of 8th May 1918, a party from the 2nd Wiltshire’s were attached to the 2nd Bedfordshire Regiment. In the resulting action, 2nd Lieutenant’s EW Plummer and ER Hatton were wounded, 7 other ranks killed (Albert was 1) 18 wounded and 37 reported missing. It was a costly night for 2/Wilts as a support regiment!
Henry Bathe Cook was a Ship’s Steward on SS Aquitania. Born 1883 Newbury. He died of a diabetic coma 10th/11th January 1916 aged 33 in the Royal South Hants Hospital, Southampton while living at Hill View, Broadlands Road, Swaythling, Southampton.
2361 Pte Oscar Cook 28th Australian Infantry, AIF (5th Reinforcements). Born Great Bedwyn 1893. Killed in action aged 23 on 29/7/1916. No known grave and remembered on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial. Oscar had previously served for 7.5 months in the Wiltshire Regiment but bought himself out to emigrate to Australia. Arrived in Fremantle March 1912 on RMS Orama. Enlisted 28/7/1915 in Perth, a Farm Hand stating his address as Duke of York Restaurant, Perth. Embarked for WW1 in Fremantle WA on board HMAT A32 ‘Themistocles’ 13/10/15.Phil Comley
Private H Cook (Aquitania) appears on the memorial in St Michael’s Church, Aldbourne, unveiled at the end of March 1920.
On ANZAC Day 2021, I received the following message: 2361 Private Oscar Cook unit was the 28th Australian Infantry Battalion. Oscar owned Location Ninghan 711 (1000 acres of farm land) in the then Kununoppin Ward in the Ninghan Road Board in Western Australia. This block is approximately four kilometres north of the town of Bencubbin. Oscar was featured in the address by the Deputy Shire President (Deputy Mayor) Cr Nick Gillett at today’s ANZAC Service (25th April 2021) at the New War Memorial at Bencubbin. Len Cargeeg, President Bencubbin Sub Branch, Returned and Services League.