Major George Sydney Cook

Ranks Held Captain, Major, Second Lieutenant
Birth Date 1886
Birth Place United Kingdom: England, Staffordshire
Death Date 1972
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Sydney
Final Rank Major
Service Australian Imperial Force
Unit 2nd Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918
Gazettes Published in London Gazette in 1919-07-11
Published in London Gazette in 1916-01-28
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1919-10-30
Published in Commonwealth Gazette in 1916-04-06

George Sydney Cook was born 8 March 1886 in Staffordshire, England, to Mary (née Turner) and Joseph Cook. The family emigrated to New South Wales later that year, settling in Lithgow, NSW. Cook’s father Joseph served as Defence Minister from 1909 to 1910, and was Prime Minister of Australia from 24 June 1913 to 17 September 1914. Cook was educated at Sydney High School.

Cook was working as an architect in the Department of Home Affairs before the outbreak of the First World War, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 2nd Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force on 23 August 1914. On 19 September 1914 he married Elsie Sheppard at Burwood Methodist Church, Sydney. He embarked from Sydney on 18 October 1914 on board HMAT Suffolk. His wife Elsie, having trained as a nurse at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, enlisted under her maiden name and sailed for Egypt in 1914, serving with the No. 2 Australian General Hospital in Cairo.

At the Gallipoli landing with the 2nd Battalion, Cook was wounded. During the battle of Lone Pine, Cook received a gunshot wound to the head sometime between 6 and 8 August 1915. He was evacuated to the 19th General Hospital in Alexandria, and then to England; in March 1916 he was invalided to Australia. He returned to the war, embarking for France from Sydney on 9 September 1916 aboard HMAT Euripides, and rejoined his unit at the front. Cook was mentioned in despatches twice, on 28 January 1916 and 11 July 1919. He received a recommendation for the Distinguished Service Order on 27 September 1918 for his actions during the attack on Hargicourt.

After returning to Australia, Cook was appointed Commonwealth Works Director in Perth. In 1940 he was transferred to Sydney, and was given responsibility for Commonwealth defence works during the Second World War. Elsie Cook founded the antique business Grafton Galleries in 1945, which continues to be run by the Cook family.

George Sydney Cook died in Sydney in 1972.



Date of birth 1886
Date of enlistment 22 August 1914
Date of embarkation 18 October 1914
Date of recommendation honour or award 31 August 1915
Date of embarkation 09 September 1916
Date of recommendation honour or award 27 September 1918
Date of recommendation honour or award 16 January 1919
Date of recommendation honour or award 18 January 1919
Date returned to Australia 06 May 1919
Date of death 1972