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THORNLEY (Easington)

Cook, J.E., Pte., 1915

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour Vol Page 91

Menin Gate Memorial

On the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial is the name of 2642 Private James Edward Cook, serving with 'B' Company, 1/7th Battalion (T.F.) Durham Light Infantry, who died 26/05/1915.

James was the second son of George Cook, of Thornley, Fruiterer and Florist, and his wife, Anne daughter of John Peel. The Greengrocers/Fruiterers shop was in Hartlepool Street, Thornley.

He was born on the 12th January 1891, at Thornley, and was educated at the council school, Henry Smith's Secondary School, Hartlepool and became a Pupil Teacher at Wheatley Hill Council School.He then went to the Training College for Teachers at Sunderland 1909 and 1911.

After receiving his certificate, he was appointed assistant master at the Thornley Council School, a post he held until the outbreak of War. Mr D. Hagon, headmaster of the boys department, refers to him as an invaluable assistant.

He was closely associated with the work of the Thornley Wesleyan Society. Being deeply interested in all things intellectual, not forgetting those movements which had for their object the betterment of everyday life, he was one of the leading spirits in the Guild, or debating society, the papers he read at the Guild meetings were all marked by earnestness and high intelligence.

Whilst at the Sunderland Training College he had joined the Territorial Battalion of the D.L.I. On the 9th of September 1914, he volunteered for Imperial service. James left Gateshead for France on the 19th April 1915 and immediately on arriving in France was sent to the front line near Ypres.

He was killed in action on Whit Monday 24th May 1915.

His body was found six weeks afterwards in front of the first line of trenches and was buried by a comrade.

His younger brother, Private Percy Cook, DLI., also a trained teacher, was killed in action on the Somme 27th July 1916.

He wrote his last letter on the Whit Sunday, but his parents never received this directly, it was sent to them via a soldier from the Lancashire Regiment, who in plain language stated that on the 3rd of July he found Private Cook's body and had dug a grave , and buried him. He said he had found his watch, his diary, and a photograph. Mr and Mrs Cook were deeply touched by the kindness of this unknown Soldier, and have written to him expressing their gratitude.

The teachers and scholars of the school intended to pay a tribute to Pte Cook by placing in the school some tangible memorial, which may perhaps be in the form of a framed enlargement of his photograph. 23rd July 1915.

De Ruvigny Roll of Honour

James Edward Cook is remembered in Sunderland on S140.049 in Durham on D47.013b page 130, D47.052 and D47.141, in Thornley on T54.03, and in Teachers who fell

Further details on James Edward Cook
The CWGC entry for Private Cook

If you know more about this person, please send the details to janet@newmp.org.uk