Remembrance Day: The Cook brothers
Benjamin (Jr.) and brother Claude, sons of Benjamin and Henrietta of Cronulla,
enlisted five months apart in 1915 aged 24 and 18 years respectively.
Benjamin landed at Anzac Cove on the Gallipoli Peninsula 25 August 1915 where
he participated in the last action of the Battle of Sari Bair (the August Offensive).
He soon received bomb wounds to his legs, feet, head and body and was
evacuated to a hospital in Wales. He rejoined his unit in France a year later
and was wounded in an attack on the Hindenburg Line. He sustained gunshot
wounds to his thigh, face and finger and was returned to Australia where he was
Benjamin married and settled in Cronulla where he was an original member of
the Cronulla RSL Sub-Branch and the community held him in high esteem for his
involvement in civic affairs.
Claude, affectionately known to his friends as ‘Chum’, arrived in France a year
after his brother, entering the frontline trenches in July 1916 and fought a major
battle at Fromelles. Three months later during a six-day engagement at the
Polygon Wood battle, Claude and a fellow runner were recognised for their
brave efforts …”mak(ing) journeys from Battalion Headquarters to the front line
under heavy shell-fire from the enemy”. They were awarded the Military Medal.
Six months later he suffered gas poisoning during an attack at VillersBretonneux and was evacuated. Shortly after his return to duty the armistice
was signed, and Claude returned home with his new wife. They settled in
Cronulla. In 1941 he enlisted in WWII, however passed away in 1943 aged just