† Cook, Private Percy no.4785
18th Battalion West Kempsey.
Born at Campsie 1897, son of Benjamin and Margaret Cook.
Enlisted at Holsworthy 4/11/1915.
Next of kin, father, Benjamin Cook.
Wounded at Bullecourt 3/5/1917.
Wounded at the Battle of the Menin Road 20/9/1917.
Killed in action 9/8/1918, north of Harbonnieres, aged 20.
Buried Heath Cemetery, Harbonnieres, grave IVF.18.
AWM File IDRL428 Letters to the Red Cross re Australian servicemen:
Private AE. Dlosenno.5435, no. 16 General Hospital, LeTreport, 25/10/1918:
I saw him after he had been killed near Harbonnieres on the 10th or 11th of August. We went up to bury the dead and found his body which we identified by the papers etc. in his pockets. He had evidently been killed by a piece o f shell which had struck him full in the head. Death must have been instantaneous. We buried him with the others in an old German trench near the next village and his rifle was put up over the grave with details.
Lance Corporal G.E. Wilkinson no. 6413 18th Battalion B Company VI Platoon, no.3 AGH, Abbeville, 16/11/1918:
1 saw Percy Cook killed instantly (head) by anti-tank shell late in the afternoon (in daylight) about 50 yards from me on the left of Harbonnieres. I don’t think anybody else was hit by same shell. I don yt know anything about burial. Percy Cook came from the Northern Rivers - he used to work for his father who was a farmer. 5ft 6ins, solid, fair, about 20 years of age.
Private R.V. Ramsay no.6827 18th Battalion B Company VI Platoon (very intelligent), Red Cross Hospital, Christchurch:
I remember that we went over at Harbonnieres on the evening of August 1918 and when near our objective Cook was hit on the head by a shell fired point blank from an anti-tank gun, the head being badly shattered. He was buried in a field near where he fell, I being one of the burial party. The grave is about 100 yards from the road’ 500 yards from Harbonnieres, and about 400 yards from a mill Death was instantaneous. His Christian name was “Percival ” He was about 5 ’8", medium shade of hair, clean shaven, and looked 22/23. Came from my town (Kempsey). The ground was held and we advanced.
Note: Whilst some documentation suggests Cook was originally from Campsie, there is a stronger indication that he originated from Kempsey.
Australian War Memorial record available at: https://www.awm.gov.au/people/rolls/R1785647/ [accessed 18/11/2016].
The primary source of the information on this page is copied from the prize winning publication Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. This book is the culmination of 12 years (1988-2000) research by a team of volunteers from the Canterbury and District Historical Society led by Dr Lesley Muir. Without this team's effort and dedication and the Society's willingness and support, this information would not be available today.
An uneditable version of the book Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe is in the eBook section of this wiki. In the main section, there is an alphabetical list of the 1,911 individuals recorded in the book - the list is titled Canterbury's Boys List. Each name in the list is linked to an editable biographical file created by copying the biography copied from the book. These editable biographies have been created to provide the space for descendants, historians, researchers, etc to add information, photographs, newspaper articles, memories, etc. they have discovered so it is available for this and future generations.
Canterbury's boys : World War I & Sydney's suburban fringe. Edited by Lesley Muir. Campsie, N.S.W. : Canterbury and District Historical Society, 2002