Biography

Birth date: 05 July 1881
Birth place: New Zealand: South Island, Canterbury, Kaikoura
Death date: 25 July 1916 to 26 July 1916
Death place: France: Picardie, Somme, Pozieres
Final rank: Private
Service number: 3055 - First World War, 1914-1918
Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

Thomas Cooke (1881-1916) was 35 years old and married with a family when he won the Victoria Cross. He had been born in New Zealand and migrated to Australia shortly before the war. 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.

Rolls and Awards

Roll of Honour

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of Death: 25 July 1916 to 26 July 1916
  • Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

First World War Embarkation Roll

  • Rank: Private
  • Date of embarkation: 26 November 1915
  • Place of embarkation: Melbourne

Australian Red Cross Wounded and Missing Files

  • Rank: Private
  • Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards (Recommendation) : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Honours and Awards : Victoria Cross

  • Unit: 8th Australian Infantry Battalion
  • Conflict: First World War, 1914-1918

Photograph

A02649

Studio portrait of Private (Pte) Thomas Cooke VC, 8th Battalion, of Richmond Vic and was killed in action on 28 July 1916. Pte Cooke was awarded his VC for most conspicuous bravery, after a Lewis gun had been disabled, he was ordered to take his gun and gun-team to a dangerous part of the line....

A02649

Published Collection

Cigarette card of Private T Cook VC

Cigarette card showing portrait of Private Thomas Cooke VC. Part of a series of cards depicting Australian VCs printed by Sniders and Abrahams.

RC09115

Private Record

Timeline

Date of birth 1881-07-05
Other 1912 Migrated to Australia.
Date and unit at enlistment (ORs) 1915-02-16 Alooted as a reinforcement to the 24th Battalion.
Date promoted 1915-11-25 Appointed Acting Corporal.
Date of embarkation 1915-11-26 Embarked for Egypt.
Awarded Victoria Cross 1916-07-24 - 1916-07-25 For action at Pozieres, France whilst serving with 8 Battalion, 2 Brigade, 1 Division as a Private
Date of death 1916-07-25 - 1916-07-26 Killed in action for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Date of recommendation honour or award 1916-07-31