The AIF Project

William Albert COOKE

Regimental number1035
Place of birthLondonderry, Ireland
SchoolRoyal British Board School
Age on arrival in Australia21
ReligionChurch of England
OccupationLabourer
Address1 Vincent's Walk, South Hampton, England
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation27
Height5' 5"
Weight144 lbs
Next of kinMrs Cooke, 1 Vincent's Walk, South Hampton, England
Enlistment date20 April 1915
Place of enlistmentBrisbane, Queensland
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name25th Battalion B Company
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/42/1
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Brisbane, Queensland, on board HMAT A60 Aeneas on 29 June 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll25th Battalion
FateKilled in Action 25 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death21
Age at death from cemetery records26
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: William and rachel COOKE
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Gallipoli, 4 September 1915. Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 9 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation). Found guilty, Ismailia, 2 February 1916, of being absent without leave from 0900, 16 January, to 0900, 26 January 1916; and of disobeying an order given by his Superior Officer: awarded 10 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Proceeded from Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 14 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, 19 March 1916.

Found guilty of being absent without leave from 2100, 19 March, to 1000, 20 March 1916: awarded 14 days' Field Punishment No 2.

Killed in action, France, 25 August 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, COOKE William Albert

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