Private Thomas Cooke VC
Date of birth: 5 July 1881
Place of birth: Kaikoura, Marlborough, New Zealand
Date of death: 24-25 July 1916
Place of death: Pozières, France
Thomas Cooke was 35 years old and married with a family when he won the Victoria Cross for his actions on 24-25 July 1916. He had been born in New Zealand and migrated to Australia shortly before the war. He enlisted in the 8th Australian Infantry Battalion, AIF. His hobby was band music, and he played the cornet.
In the initial attack on Pozières his battalion captured vital ground. It then had to hold on under heavy artillery fire and determined enemy counter-attacks. Cooke was part of a Lewis gun team working from a particularly dangerous position. Even after all the others with him had been killed or wounded, he remained fighting at his isolated post. When help finally reached the position, Cooke was found dead at his gun. His body was lost in the later fighting around Pozières.