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James Cook

3306 Private

1st Battalion Royal Scots, 81st Infantry Brigade, 27th Division

Age: 19

Date of Death: 21.2.15

Buried: Menin Gate Memorial Panel 11

Family history: Son of James & Janet Cook, 35 Gairdoch Street, Carron Road. He had a brother John and three sisters Mary, Janet and Agnes. Before he enlisted on 19 August 1914, he was employed as a moulder.

He joined the 7th Battalion Royal Scots in August 1914. Discovering that he was not going to the front line for sometime he applied for a transfer which was granted and he moved to the 3rd battalion. On 31 October 1914, he was confined to camp in Weymouth for two days for laughing on parade. He again applied for a transfer and was posted to the 1st Battalion and landed in France on 15 December 1914.

(National Archive. Laughing on parade)

The action leading to his death

The battalion was in the line at Bus House, St Eloi. Three Companies were in the firing line with one in reserve at Voormezeele. On the 16 February the War Diary records that the trenches are in a poor state and that the parapet was not bullet proof. The enemy could bring enfilade fire to bear on them. They had received a large quantity of sandbags and Royal Engineers stores and riveting to enable them to improve their position. The War Diary recorded the casualties for the 17 February as one officer wounded, five Other Ranks killed and eleven wounded.

(Linesman Map)

In a letter, dated 23 February, to James Cook’s father Lieutenant M Young wrote that his son had been shot through the head by a sniper on the morning of the 21 February. ‘This was the very worst time of the day to get wounded and it is quite impossible to get real medical aid until we can carry the wounded back to the dressing station after dark. Our first aid men did what they could for him with bandages etc, but he never regained consciousness and died quite peacefully at 9am. We buried him behind the trenches and erected a cross over his grave. His effects I have handed to the proper authorities and will be duly forwarded to you.’

List of effects from his file in the 'Burnt Records' National Archive.

His effects returned to his family consisted of:

A cap badge

2 letters

1 New Year Card

2 Postcards

Princess Mary Box

Medals Awarded

1915 Star, The British War Medal, Victory Medal.

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