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Item: C0487

A Complete and Extensive Great War D.S.O., M.C. and Document Collection to Major J. C. Cooke, Canadian Forces

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A Complete and Extensive Great War D.S.O., M.C. and Document Collection to Major J. C. Cooke, Canadian Forces

Distinguished Service Order, G.V.R., silver-gilt and enamel; Military Cross, G.V.R., unnamed as issued; 1914-15 Star (Capt. J. C. Cooke, A. Cyc. Corps); British War and Victory Medals, M.I.D. oak leaf (Major J. C. Cooke); Canadian Voluntary Service Medal 1939-45; War Medal 1939-45, silver, obverse enamel centre of the first slightly chipped in places, contact marks and a little polished, otherwise very fine or better. Footnote: D.S.O. London Gazette 1 January 1919. The original recommendation states: During the withdrawal on 21 March 1918, and succeeding days, Major J. C. Cooke, M.C., acted as A.A. & Q.M.G. until the return from leave of Lieutenant-Colonel ACourt, D.S.O., on 25 March 1918, and it was largely due to his energy, forethought and capacity for organisation and to his constant presence in the forward area that transport and baggage of the Division escaped with trifling loss. He personally supervised the arrangements he had made for the supply of hot food and ammunition to troops in the front line, generally under heavy shell fire, with the result that the troops only once failed to get a hot meal, during the night, in the period from 21-31 March 1918, and that failure was due to the Infantry Brigades being cut off from their transport by the enemy. Subsequently, Major Cooke rendered invaluable assistance in the training, equipping and supplying of four American Divisions. I strongly recommend him for the award of the D.S.O. M.C. London Gazette 1 January 1918. John Campbell Cooke was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal West Kent Regiment in June 1904, direct from his appointment in the 5th (Militia) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Having then been placed on the Reserve and settled in Vancouver Island, British Columbia, he applied to be reinstated in his old regiment on the outbreak of hostilities but, after some prevarication on the part of the authorities, he ended up gaining appointment as a Captain in the 8th Battalion, the Seaforth Highlanders, and, by early 1915, was in command of the 15th Divisional Cyclist Company - and it was in this latter capacity that he first entered the French theatre of war, his unit quickly seeing action at Loos. Next appointed Brigade Major, 46th Infantry Brigade, 15th (Scottish) Division, he witnessed further service in the Loos salient and on the Somme, and, from April 1917, on the Arras front and beyond, including actions on the Menin Road in September, this time as a Staff Captain in 43rd Infantry Brigade. He was awarded the M.C. Finally, as a newly appointed D.A.Q.M.G. in 39th Division, he added the D.S.O. to his accolades for the above cited deeds in the German Spring Offensive. He was also twice mentioned in despatches (London Gazettes 15 June 1916 and 20 December 1918 refer). Having returned to Canada on being demobilised in the Summer of 1919, Cooke was appointed a Major on the Reserve of Officers in the Canadian Militia on the eve of the renewal of hostilities and, in September 1941, finally gained appointment in the Veterans Guard of Canada, in which role he served until early 1945. Sold with two particularly fine albums full of original documentation and photographs, the first of them including the recipients D.S.O. warrant, dated 1 January 1919, old carbon copy of the recommendation, dated 12 October 1918, and Buckingham Palace investiture ticket, dated 7 June 1919, together with his M.I.D. certificates, dated 30 April 1916 and 8 November 1918; commission warrants for the ranks of 2nd Lieutenant in the 5th (Militia) Battalion, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, dated 19 March 1902, and in the Royal West Kents, dated June 1904, and for the rank of Major on the Reserve of Officers, Canadian Militia, dated April 1939; considerable correspondence of a military nature, from his application to be re-instated in the Royal West Kents in September 1914 to his appointment in the Veterans Guard of Canada in the last War, and several letters spanning early soldiering days through to the Great War, including exchanges between family and friends with glimpses of Cooke in the front line, where reports refer to him being a capable and courageous officer who was cool under fire; assorted photographs, newspaper cuttings, etc., and much besides; and the second album of a purely photographic nature (approximately 200 images), covering early military career in the Royal Inniskillings (Militia) in 1903, via the Royal West Kents on garrison duty in Malta in 1905 and back in the U.K., to scenes from Canada just prior to the Great War, in addition to an assortment of family images.
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