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Person Details
Sutton in Ashfield Nottinghamshire
Alfred was the son of Robert and Sarah Ann Cook (née Turner). His father Robert was born in North Wingfield, Derbyshire, in about 1861 and his mother Sarah Ann Turner in Sutton in Ashfield in about 1859. They were married in Sutton in Ashfield parish church on 5 August 1882 (J/A/S Mansfield) and had seven children one of whom. Robert, died young. All the children were born in Sutton in Ashfield: Lily (Lillie) b. 8 December 1882 (reg. 1883 J/F/M), Ann Elizabeth (Annie) b. 21 March 1884, Hannah b. 20 May 1886, John William b. 25 June 1888, Harold birth registered 1890 (J/F/M Mansfield), Alfred b. 1891 (O/N/D Mansfield) and Robert b. 1893 (A/M/J Mansfield) d. 1905. In 1891 Robert (30), a coal miner, and Sarah (32) were living in Sutton in Ashfield with their five children Lillie (8), Annie (7), Hannah (4), John (2) and Harold (1). By 1901 the family had moved to 21 Welbeck Street, Sutton in Ashfield. Six of the seven children were in the home on the night of the census: Annie and Hannah who were both machine minders at a tin mill, John, Harold, Alfred (9) and Robert (7). Lillie was living with her grandmother, Anne E Turner (65), on King Street, Sutton in Ashfield. The youngest child, Robert, died aged 12 in 1905 (O/N/D Mansfield). In 1911 Robert and Sarah were living at 1 Park Street, Sutton in Ashfield. Also in the household were Alfred, their married daughter Hannah Frost, her husband Edward (20 b. Wirksworth Derbyshire) a colliery labourer, and their daughters Sarah Ann Frost Cook (2) and Annie Elizabeth (1) together with another grandchild, Isabel Vera Oliver (8), the daughter of Annie Elizabeth (née Cook). Robert and Sarah were still living at 1 Park Street when Alfred's medals were sent to them in 1921. Of Alfred's five surviving siblings: Lillie married Alfred Wiliam Oliver (b. 1 April 1877) in 1901 (O/N/D Mansfield). In 1911 they were living at 31 Langford Terrace, Prestsic Road, Sutton in Ashfield, with their children Robert William, Alice (b. 1907), Ernest and Gladys May (b. 1910). Alfred, a coal miner hewer, served in the Lincolnshire Regiment (43142 Private) and was discharged on 25 February 1919. In 1939 when the England & Wales Register was compiled Lillie and Alfred were still living on Prestsic Street along with their daughters Alice, Gladys and Gertrude (b. 1913). Lillie died in 1970 (J/F/M Mansfield). Annie Elizabeth married Frederick Henry Ward in 1906 (J/F/M Mansfield). They later livedon Clumber Street, Warsop, but by 1939 Annie and Frederick (b. 1 November 1882), a coal hoist labourer, were living at Longden Terrace, Market Warsop. Annie died in 1973 (J/F/M Mansfield). Hannah married Edward Frost (b. 2 January 1889), a colliery labourer, in 1909 (A/M/J Mansfield). In 1911 they and their two daughters, Sarah Ann Frost Cook (2) and Annie Elizabeth (1), were living with Hannah's parents in Sutton in Ashfield. They were still living in Sutton in Ashfield in 1939. Hannah died on 9 September 1972; she was then living on Nesbitt Road, Sutton in Ashfield. John William married Sarah Elizabeth Hill (b. 5 June 1890) in 1909 (J/F/M Mansfield). In 1911 they and their daughter, Elsie May were living on Reform Street, Sutton in Ashfield; boarders in the household of Robert Howard and his wife. John and Sarah had at least two more children, Bernard William b. 1928 (reg. Mansfield) and Joan b. 1931 (reg. Mansfield). By 1939 John, a ripper (coal mine) and Sarah were living in Stoke on Trent with their children Benjamin and Joan. The record of another member of the household remains closed. John died in 1969 (J/A/S Stoke on Trent). Harold was killed in France on 14 October 1915 leaving a widow, Nellie, and three children. (See record on this Roll of Honour)
He was a miner employed by the New Hucknall Colliery Company when he attested in the Territorial Force in 1910
15 Jun 1915
1607565 - CWGC Website
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
'C' Company, 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters Alfred attested in the Territorial Force (4 years) on 22 August 1910 at the age of 18y 9m and served in the 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters. He attended four annual camps during his service with the Territorials: Scarborough 30 July 1911-13 August 1911, Camp 4 August 1912-18 August 1912, Thoresby Camp 27 July 1913-10 August 1913 and Camp 26 July 1914-3 August 1914. His served at home from 22 August 1910 to 1 March 1915 (4y 192d) and in France from 2 March 1915 until his death on 15 June 1915 (106d). The 8th battalion was in the area of Kemmel when Alfred and another soldier from the battalion, Pte OL Bryan, were reported missing on 15 June 1915. They were in J3 Right trench, within 30-70 yards of the German trenches, when at 9.10pm a portion of the trench was blown up by one of three mines exploded by the enemy. German soldiers later attacked the mine crater but were repelled. The battalion's casualties that day included two officers, a corporal and eight men killed. It was the last day of the Battalion's tour in that position. Both Harold and two brothers of Pte Bryan, later searched the trench for their brothers. Following a Court of Enquiry Alfred's death in the field was confirmed as 15 June. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial, Belgium (Panel 39 and 41). Alfred qualified for the 1915 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal. Information taken from documents of the Court of Inquiry in Alfred's Army Service Record ('burnt' records): Court of Inquiry in the field 29 July 1915 into the circumstances under which No. 1199 Pte O Bryan and No. 950 A Cook were (-) to be missing on (-) June. President GS Heathcote 1/8th Sherwood Foresters and Members Lieutenant CM Houfton and 2nd Lieutenant E Stanley Strachan 1/8 Bn Sherwood Foresters. The Court having assembled pursuant to order, proceeded to take evidence. 1st Witness. 2406 Sgt HG List, 'C' Coy 1/8th Sherwood Foresters (platoon sergeant): ‘On the night of the 15th June about 9.15pm I saw Pte (-) Bryan and A Cook in J3 right trench a few minutes afterwards this trench was blown up, and I was buried. After the explosion I was rescued by a party from J3 trench. The above mentioned men were then searched for and could not be traced. I cannot throw any further light on the case.' 2nd Witness. No 2088 H Cook ‘C’ Coy 1/8th Sherwood Foresters: ‘On the night of the 17th in company with (-) C Bryan 1198 and Pte S Bryan (No) (both brothers of one of the missing men) … J3 R to make a further search. On arriving … ascertained from Capt. Bradwell (-) Sherwood Foresters, that thorough searching had been carried out during the previous forty (?hours) but without result. It was impossible for myself and Ptes Bryan to make further searches owing to the conditions prevailing at the time I searched the trench' Opinion: I consider that the Court has elicited all information possible in the enquiry. There is no doubt in any (-) that these two men were killed when the trench J3 (right) was blown up by the enemy, and that their bodies have been buried in the debris of the trench. Close search was impossible owing to the proximity of the enemy trench (about 60 yards). Above findings agreed by CJ Shipley Commanding 139th Brigade. There is a note in Alfred's service record that the original documents of the Court of Inquiry were filed with 1199 Pte OL Bryan’s documents.
His brother Harold also served with the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (2088 Private). He was killed in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 14 October 1915 and is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, France. (See record on this Roll of Honour) 1199 Private Oliver Leslie Bryan, 8th Bn Sherwood Foresters, who was killed in the same incident as Alfred, is also commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. (See record on this Roll of Honour) Two members of the Court of Inquiry into their deaths were also killed in the war: Lieutenant Charles Morley Houfton on 12 November 1915 (see record on this Roll of Honour) and Second Lieutenant Edward Stanley Strachan on 14 October 1915 (Loos Memorial); his family came from London. 1/8th Bn casualties, 15 June 1915: Lieutenant AFO Dobson (grave ref. D.64), Lieutenant WH Hollins (D.70), Corporal F Wilcox (D.71), Privates AE Armitage (D.65), B Cox (D.67), FW Hill (D.66), P May (D.72), RW Moakes (D.69) and W Richardson (D.68) buried Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery and Privates OL Bryan and A Cook commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. Mansfield Reporter, ‘Marriages’, 11 August 1882: ‘On the 5th inst., at the Parish Church, Sutton, by the Rev. F Brodhurst, Mr Robert Cook to Miss Sarah Ann Turner, both of Ball Field.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: ‘Missing. Feared Death of Sutton Soldier. It is feared that Private Alfred Cook, son of Mr and Mrs Robert Cook, Park-street, Sutton, has been killed in action, as he has been reported missing since a trench was blown in on Tuesday week. From Lieut.-Colonel G Herbert Fowler [KIA Hohenzollern Redoubt, 14 October 1915] Mr and Mrs Cook have received the following letter: ‘I am very sorry indeed to have to write and tell you that, after an attack by the Germans on our trenches, your son 950, Private A Cook, has been returned as missing. The trench he was in was blown up, and I fear that he has perished with his comrades. No trace of him can be found. He might be a prisoner, but I hardly think it likely. I do so want to sympathise with you in your trouble, which the uncertainty can only make the worse. The only consolation can be that he died, if he has, for his King and Country.’ Private A Cook, who was 23 years of age, served four years with the Sutton Territorials and left for the front on March 1st. He was formerly a banksman at the New Hucknall Colliery, and, as previously intimated, was one of three brothers with the colours.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: '8th Sherwood Foresters Ranks Thinned … No. 1199 Pte. OL Bryan C Company, missing, Next of kin mother – Skegby Forest, Notts. No. 950 Private A Cook C Company, missing. Next of kin father - Park-street, Sutton-in-Ashfield.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) Mansfield Reporter, 25 June 1915: ‘The 8th Sherwoods Badly Damaged. This interesting letter has been received by Mrs Wilson, wife of Ald. JL Wilson, from her son who is at the front. In the letter, which refers to the death of Lance Corporal Charlie Wilson, he adds that he attended Charlie’s burial ‘in a special ground we have in a village, just behind our lines’ [Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery] Just as we were waiting for the chaplain (about 9.15pm) there came from the trenches a terrific report, followed by two others almost instantly. At the same time the sky was lighted up by [a] tremendous flash, followed by a continuous roar of rifle fire and artillery. Of course, we knew immediately that it was a mine blown up, and that it must have been a German one, too. I cannot describe to you what it was like, but for at least an hour the roar was simply deafening.’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
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