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  • Photo courtesy of Alan Laurie
Person Details
Wilfred was born in 1886 in Attercliffe, Yorkshire and was the second son of George & Mary Cooke of 25 Carolgate, Retford.
10 Sep 1916
585306 - CWGC Website
Enlisted Bristol
Lance Corporal
2/6th Bn Gloucestershire Regiment
Wilfred enlisted at Bristol and served with the local 2nd/6th battalion of the Gloucestershire Regiment. He was shot and killed near a German trench on 10 September 1916. He is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France (grave ref. VII.G 9). A memorial service was held at Retford Wesleyan Church in 1916.
On 16th Aug 1916 the Retford Times reported the death of Wilfred Cooke under the title “Fell in Action': 'As briefly announced last week, Lance Corporal Wilfred Cooke, Gloucesters, second son of Mr George Cooke and the late Mrs Cooke, 25 Carolgate, Retford, was killed in action on September 8th. 'Captain H Calvert Fisher has written the following letter to Mrs Cooke, ”Owing to the number of letters that arrive for your son, the late Lance Corpl Cooke I feel rather doubtful as to whether you can have received the letter from his platoon officer informing you of his death. It is of course possible that his officer’s letter may have miscarried or perhaps the officer’s letter was lost in the trenches, for I understand that the officer although wounded at the time wrote to you before he himself went to the dressing station. Your son was shot in the chest on the night of the 8th inst. and died instantaneously. Although I personally was not in the trenches on that occasion being away at base for a month, I, as Company Commander, should like you to know what a fine straight fellow I thought him. He was undoubtedly one of my best men, always cool and never worried or upset. Whenever I wanted a man for a particularly fatiguing or difficult job I never had to look further than your son who was always keen and eager to volunteer. Permit me to offer you and Mr Cooke in your bereavement my very deepest sympathy. Some day if I am spared through this ghastly war I shall do myself the honour of calling upon you and telling you the circumstances of the case." 'Lance Corpl Cooke who was 29 years of age, served his apprenticeship with Messrs Holoran & Co, printers, Retford and then went to Letchworth Garden City Press. He volunteered for the army whilst at Bristol in 1915 and was in the trenches for the first time on Whit Sunday. He was a scholar at the Retford Wesleyan Day and Sunday Schools and was highly respected by a large circle of friends. The greatest sympathy is felt for members of the family and for the deceased’s fiancée, Miss Black, Bristol.' Worksop Guardian 8 December 1916: 'Lance Corpl. W Cooke' 'It was reported three weeks ago that Mr George Cooke, a Retford trader, had received information from the British Red Cross and Order of St: John, that they had been informed by the official list that his son, Lance-Corpl. W. Cooke, Gloucester’s, was a prisoner of war at Gottingen. This was glad news to Mr Cooke, who a month previous been officially informed that his son was killed in action in France. A Memorial Service was held at the Wesleyan Church, with which the family is closely identified. Mr Cooke has now received another letter from the British Red Cross Society regretting “that, you have been encouraged in false hopes by a mistake of our’s as to the prisoner’s lists. Now that unfortunately, Lance-Corpl. Cooke is known not to be a prisoner, I think I ought to send you some information which I had kept back as irrelevant. A Corporal saw Lance Corpl. Cooke killed by a bullet on 8th September, near a German trench. He died at once, but we were unable to get to him as the firing became very hot and we had to retire. We are continuing our enquiries on both sides of the German lines. With renewed apologies and sympathy in your terrible suspense.' Retford & Worksop Herald and North Notts Advertiser, 29 January 1918: ‘Memorial Service at Retford Wesleyan Chapel. On Sunday evening a well-attended memorial service for soldiers and sailors who have given their lives in the great war was held in the Wesleyan Chapel, Grove-street. A special form of service was used … The preacher, Rev TE Young, referred in eloquent terms to the noble Retford sons connected with the Wesleyan body, who had given their lives in the righteous cause for which the Allies were fighting, and read out the following list of names: Lce Corpl Wilfred Cook 6th Gloucesters [and 23 others].' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) The information on Wilfred Cooke has been provided courtesy of Alan Laurie.
Remembered on


  • Photo courtesy of Alan Laurie
    Wilfred Cooke - Photo courtesy of Alan Laurie
  • Buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. (www.cwgc.org)
    Wilfred Cooke - Buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. (www.cwgc.org)
  •  Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Wilfred Cooke - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, Pas de Calais, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle