Robert and Hector, the sons of Thomas and Janet Cook, were born at Kirkcally, Fife, Scotland. They came to Australia with their Father and two brothers in 1901. Robert, a Sawyer at Ashford NSW enlisted in October 1915 and agreed to serve from 25 November 1915. As his attestation papers record that he was rejected due to lack of dental attention, this most likely delayed his departure until 12 January 1916 when he joined The First Contingent of The Kurrajongs.
Twenty one year old Robert became a member of the 33rd Battalion, A Company which sailed from Australia in May 1916. They trained at Salisbury Plain, England until sent to France In November. In October 1917 Robert was promoted to Lance Corporal. He was gassed in April 1918 and sent to Royal Victoria Hospital, Netley, England for treatment, returning to France in October. Robert returned home in 1919. He eventually married and lived at East Maitland where he died in 1950.
Hector enlisted in March 1916 and was one of the nineteen volunteers who left Inverell on 29 March. He had been employed as a Machinist by builder BM Wade who presented Hector with a watch prior to his departure. He left Australia on the transport ship Beltana in May with the 36th Battalion, 1st Reinforcement. This Battalion was also part of the 3rd Division which trained in England before being sent to France. Hector’s war only lasted a few weeks as he was Killed in Action on 22 January 1917 and buried at Cite Bonjean Military Cemetery, Armentieres, France. He was twenty seven years old. His name is inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph.
The names of Robert and Hector are recorded on the Inverell Honor Roll.
Photo: Hector Cook, courtesy IDFHG Inc