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  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
Person Details
Harold 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 their 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). (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). Alfred was killed on 15 June 1915 and his parents were still living at 1 Park Street when his medals were sent to them in 1921. Harold married Ellen (Nellie) Edwards in 1910 (O/N/D Mansfield. They had a daughter, Lilian b. 12 June 1909. Lilian was described on the pension records as 'illegitimate step child' although her name on the birth registration record - Lilian Cook Edwards - indicates that Harold accepted paternity. In 1911 Harold, a coal miner, and Ellen (20 b. Grasmere) were living at 80 Stoney Street, Sutton in Ashfield, with their daughter Lilian (Cook) aged 2. Also in the household were Lilian's mother Sarah Ann Edwards (43) and brother John W Edwards (17), a miner ganger. Harold and Ellen had two more children, Alice b. 13 December 1911 (birth registered 1912 J/F/M) and Alfred b. 25 August 1913. Ellen married Jesse Bradley on 22 December 1917 (O/N/D Mansfield). She completed a form for the army in 1919 listing Harold's surviving blood relatives; she was then living at 6 Quarry Yard, Sutton in Ashfield and this is the address given on the later CWGC record. Ellen and her two youngest children have not yet been traced after this date. However, Lilian Cook Edwards married David G Price in 1929 (A/M/J Mansfield). In 1939 they were living on Leamington Drive, Sutton in Ashfield, with their children Geoffrey G. (b. 1930) and Beryl (b. 1938). The records of two other members of the household remain closed. Lilian died in 1966 (A/M/J Mansfield). Of Harold's 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 Prestic Road; also in the home were 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 (13m) 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 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 a miner at Silverhill Colliery (Stanton Ironworks Company)
14 Oct 1915
25
585301 - CWGC Website
2088
6 Little Duke Street Sutton in Ashfield.
Private
1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts & Derby Regiment)
Harold enlisted on 9 August 1914 at the age of 24 years 208 days. He joined the1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters and served at home from 9 August then France from 2 March 1915. Harold was presumed killed on 14 October 1915 in the attack on the Hohenzollern Redoubt, Auchy-les-Mines, near Loos. Originally reported missing, a subsequent Court of Enquiry confirmed that his death had occurred in the attack. Harold's body was recovered and identified and he is buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France (grave ref. XXVII.L.5). Harold's army service record contains documents relating to the Court of Enquiry; extracts from these 'burnt records' below. Court of Enquiry assembled at Molinghem, France, 3rd day of January 1916 by order of Lt Col JE Blackwell the Officer Commanding the 8th Battalion Sherwood Foresters for the purpose of collecting all the evidence relating to the disappearance of No.. 2088 Pte H Cook 8th Sherwood Foresters, reported ‘missing’ after the action at Hohenzollern Oct 13-14 and not satisfactorily accounted … for recording an opinion as to whether it is reasonable ...… that the soldier is dead. President: Captain Heathcote 8th Sherwood Foresters. Members: Lieut JM Gray 8th Sherwood Foresters, 2nd Lieut RV Harvey 8th Sherwood Foresters. 1st Witness. 1624 Pte C Osbourne 8th Bn SF: 'Opposite Hohenzollern Redoubt. In the trenches (old British firing line) prior to the attack on Hohenzollern Redoubt on October 13th (thirteenth). I was standing with Pte H Cook in the same bay at about 1.50pm. This was ten minutes before the charge was made. We were both with the Battalion bombers, & stationed in our Reserve Trench (2nd Line). Owing to considerable hostile shell fire we were ordered to ‘thin out’ along the trench. This we did, I to the left - & Pte Cook to the right. At 2.0pm we all (Battalion Bombers) charged over the parapet together but I did not again particularly see Pte Cook. In my opinion there was little chance of his being captured.’ 2nd Witness. [statement damaged]: No. 2609 Sgt J Egglestone, 8th Batt. Sherwood Foresters. ‘Some six or seven weeks (ago), I read a letter … one of the Mansfield (-) newspapers … & found … Lieutenant ...I cannot … actual newspapers ... when the said letters … The letter contained a statement that the said lieutenant (had) returned some letters & cash which had been found on the body to Pte Cook’s wife.’ Opinion: The Court having carefully considered the above evidence are of the opinion that No. 2088 Pte H Cook was killed in action on October 13th (sic) 1915. Signed at Molinghem this 3rd day of January 1916. President: Gilbert S Heathcote Captain Members: JM Gray Lieutenant and RV Hawsey 2/Lieutenant Note: The Battalion was at Wittes for Christmas 1915 then on Boxing Day marched via Aire to billets at Molinghem where it remained until 7 January 1916. Lt Col George Herbert Fowler, the 8th battalion's commanding officer, was killed by a sniper on 15th October 1915 at the Hohenzollern Redoubt while attempting to rescue Major Becher of the 8th Bn who had been severely wounded 30 yards from the German lines. (See records on this Roll of Honour.)
Harold's brother Alfred also served with the 1/8th Bn Sherwood Foresters (950 Private). He was killed on 15 June 1915 when the trench he was in was partially destroyed by an enemy mine. Harold helped in the search for his brother and gave evidence at the subsequent Enquiry. Alfred is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. (See record on this Roll of Honour.) Lieutenant CM Houfton who sat on the Court of Enquiry to confirm Alfred's death was killed on 12 November 1915. (See record on this Roll of Honour.) Like Harold Cook, Lieut Houfton was buried in Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery. 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) WW1 Pension Ledgers Index Cards: Dependants widow Nellie Cook and children Lilian Cook Edwards b. 12 June 1909 (described as illegitimate step child) Alice b. 13 December 1911 and Alfred b. 25 August 1913. Harold's widow was awarded 20/6d (20 shillings and 6 pence) a week from 12 June 1916 for herself and her children rising to 26/8d from week commencing 4 April 1917.
Remembered on

Photos

  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle
    Harold Cook - Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone marking his grave at Cabaret-Rouge British Cemetery, Souchez, France. Photograph courtesy of Murray Biddle