Soldiers of the Regiment
Private Stephen Cook, number 2086, 1st/5th Battalion, Kingís Own
Royal Lancaster Regiment. He died of wounds on 29th May 1915.
Letter written to home from Private Stephen
Cook, number 2086, 1/5 Kingís Own. Postmarked 23rd February 1915.
To Miss A Cook
35 Balmoral Road, Lancaster, Lancashire, England. Postmarked 23 Feb
1915. British Expeditionary Force, 5th Kingís Own, Number 2086, Number 5
Platoon. c/o GPO London.
I suppose you will be thinking I am never going to write but I have
arranged to write at last. We are billeted out in barns here. We had a ?
train ride from the last place to here. It was rotten I can tell you. It
was raining all the time I was nearly wet through.
We canít get any decent cigarettes here, they only sell French stuff,
itís rotten, the tobacco in them is as black as coal. You can tell
Willie and Harold to send me some Woodbines if you like. I canít get any
here ? want a few to keep me going till we get payed. Well I shall close
now so good bye for the present, I remain your loving brother.
Give these to Madge.
PS Please write back soon. The address on this letter will find me
Accession Number: KO1924/02
Field Service Postcard from Private Stephen Cook, number 2086, 1st/5th
Kingís Own. Postmarked 1st April 1915 and dated 30th March 1915.
Accession Number: KO1924/03
Letter home from Private Stephen Cook, number
2086, 1/5 Kingís Own. Dated 20th May 1915.
Three sheets hand script
20th May 1915
British Expeditionary Force, 5th Kingís Own R L R, B Company, 5 Platoon,
Number 2086. C/o GPO London.
Thank you very much for the letter and more so the cigarettes. I had
just two left when they arrived, I thought you had forgotten me though,
you ask me why I donít put a letter in the paper. I am not chatty [?]
yet, I will put on e in when I come back it will be a letter too I doubt
a few of them will get chalked off, I have a fine tale to tell when I
come home itís been like hell up here and I believe we go up to the
trenches again on Sunday night, itís rather wonderful how I manage to be
alive after what Iíve have gone through. I got a nice shaking up on the
8th May, I got blown up in the air and then buried with a Jack Johnson
shell I went mad for about half an hour I did not know where I was going
or what I was doing and my face was smarting something terrible. I donít
want to go through what I have gone through in this last six weeks. Well
I will close now so good bye for the present.
I remain, your loving brother, Stephen.
xxxxxxxxxxxxx for Madge.
Remember me to Will.
Accession Number: KO1924/01
Newspaper Articles relating to the death of Private
Lancaster Observer Friday 21st May 1915
Private Stephen Cook, B Company, 5th Kingís Own, formerly postman at
Caton writing to his father says: ďOn the 8th of this month I was blown
up in the air two or three yards and then buried, I felt as if every
bone in my body had been knocked loose I think I went mad for about half
an hour I did not know where I was going or what I was doing. You know
the wash house yard of the last house we were in? Well you could nearly
put it in the hole made by the shell.
Six Men in Shelter: Five Killed One Wounded
27th May 1915
News reached Lancaster on Sunday through Captain W R W Deed that five
had been killed and one wounded owing to the bursting of a shell in a
reserve trench shelter on Wednesday week the 26th inst. Few details were
given in a letter to Mr Ernest Threlfall of King Street informing him of
the death of his elder son Sergeant Robert Threlfall. Captain Deed
writing on the 27th says last night your son was sitting in a shelter in
a reserve trench when a shell came through causing the death of five and
wounds to one. Lance corporal McGowan died on the way to the Dressing
Station but your son, Sergeant Dawes, Lance corporal Harlowe and
Corporal Sandham were killed directly. Captain Eaves and I were present
at their burial this morning before light when a short service was said.
A cross will be put up to mark the spot which is quite close to the spot
and the trench where they were killed. From further letters it appears
that the one man wounded was Private S Cook who belongs to Caton. All
the men belong to ĎBí Company, 1st/5th Kingís Own.
Carnforth and Caton Casualties
In letters announcing the death of Sergeant Threlfall and others on
Wednesday week, Captain Deed mentioned that the shell which caused their
deaths wounded Private S Cook who belongs to Caton and already been in
hospital after being blown up and buried by the explosion of a shell on
the 8th May as mentioned in the Observer of 21st May before enlisting
Cook was a postman at Caton.
Mr J Cook of Caton received official intimation on Friday that his son
Private S Cook was killed on the 29th May from letters received in
Lancaster. It was known that Private Cook was wounded at the same time
that Sergeant Mason Dawes, Sergeant Threlfall, Lance corporal Harlowe,
Lance corporal McGowan and Corporal Sandham were killed by a shell
piercing and exploding their dugout on 25th May. No message concerning
this reached Private Cooks relatives directly Ė possibly because no
other Caton men were near at the time of the explosion. It must be
surmised that Private S Cook only survived his injuries from three of
four days. Only a fortnight before (8th) he was blown up and buried by a
shell. Cook was only eighteen years of age and during the few years
which have elapsed since he left Caton School he had been engaged in
gardening and latterly as postman up to the time of enlisting. A
memorial service was held at the Church on Sunday when a large
congregation gathered to pay their tribute to one who had fallen for
their sakes. The choir sang ďBlest are the departedĒ and funeral marches
were played before and after the service.
Officers of the 1st/5th Battalion, King's Own Royal Lancaster Regiment,
First World War.
Accession Number: KO1924/04
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