The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (6970) Private Eric Trevor Cook, 3rd Battalion, First World War.

Place Europe: France, Nord Pas de Calais, Nord, Strazeele
Accession Number AWM2016.2.255
Collection type Film
Object type Last Post film
Physical description 16:9
Maker Australian War Memorial
Place made Australia: Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, Campbell
Date made 11 September 2016
Access Open
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copyright Item copyright: © Australian War Memorial
Creative Commons License This item is licensed under CC BY-NC
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use
Description

The Last Post Ceremony is presented in the Commemorative area of the Australian War Memorial each day. The ceremony commemorates more than 102,000 Australians who have given their lives in war and other operations and whose names are recorded on the Roll of Honour. At each ceremony the story behind one of the names on the Roll of Honour is told. Hosted by Michael Kelly, the story for this day was on (6970) Private Eric Trevor Cook, 3rd Battalion, First World War.

Speech transcript

6970 Private Eric Trevor Cook, 3rd Battalion
KIA 20 June 1918
No photograph in collection

Story delivered 11 September 2016

Today we remember and pay tribute to Private Eric Trevor Cook.

Eric Cook was born in 1891 in Summer Hill, New South Wales, to Alfred and Jane Cook. He attended the Summer Hill Public School, and later moved to Dubbo, where he worked as a postman. He was an active member of the Rechabites, a temperance movement, and the Protestant Alliance.

Cook enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force in October 1916, and just over a month later left Australia for England on the troopship Benalla. Shortly after his arrival he was admitted to hospital with eye problems. He was discharged a month later, and began training on the Salisbury Plain in late February 1917.

Cook joined the 3rd Battalion on the battlefields of France in late May 1917. The battalion had just finished a period of fierce fighting near the village of Bullecourt and had entered a quieter sector of the line. Cook participated in a number of small operations on the Somme before moving north to fight near the Belgian town of Ypres.

On 4 October 1917 the 3rd Battalion participated in an operation to capture the heights of Broodseinde Ridge. During the attack, Cook was shot in the hip. He was evacuated to hospital on the French coast, and then to England. Before he could return to his battalion, however, he fell ill and continued treatment in hospital for several months.

On 20 June 1918, six weeks after Private Cook re-joined the 3rd Battalion on the Western Front, a party undertook a small-scale raid on German positions near the French town of Strazeele. The party entered the
enemy trench and bombed its way along it for 100 yards. It was reported that the Germans “fled in disorder, leaving boots, equipment and everything behind”. In retaliation the Germans put down a series of heavy artillery barrages on the Australian positions. The 3rd Battalion suffered a number of casualties protecting their small gain in the German lines.

One of those killed was Eric Cook. His body was recovered and today he is buried in the Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery near Morbecque in France.

In Dubbo, Eric Cook was remembered in a memorial service at St Andrew’s Church. During the sermon the minister said:
"No one was more reluctant to go and fight than he; nevertheless he felt it was the only way. And with that disregard of death which characterises our soldiers, he bravely faced the enemy of mankind. Like many of his countrymen, he has fallen on the battlefield leaving to us not only a memory, but a legacy, a sacred trust, that we carry on the good work in which he played so noble a part."

He was 27 years old.

His name is listed on the Roll of Honour on my right, among more than 60,000 Australians who died during the First World War.

This is but one of the many stories of service and sacrifice told here at the Australian War Memorial. We now remember Private Eric Cook, who gave his life for us, for our freedoms, and in the hope of a better world.

Dr Meleah Hampton
Historian, Military History Section

  • Video of The Last Post Ceremony commemorating the service of (6970) Private Eric Trevor Cook, 3rd Battalion, First World War. (video)