George Frederick Cooke
George is buried in Thurstaston Church Yard and commemorated in St. Peter’s Church, Heswall, as well as at Grange Hill. This is due to the fact that he had lived in Newton and Frankby as well as in Heswall. He originated from Thurgoland, a small town close to Sheffield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. George’s parents were William Cooke (born in about 1843 in Newmarket, Suffolk) and Hannah (born in about 1845 in Eye in Suffolk). In 1881 and 1901, William was employed as a domestic butler and Hannah as a dressmaker. George, who was described as being a student at that time, had the following siblings: William (born in about 1871 in London), Ellen (born in about 1873 in Thurgoland), Blanche (born in about 1880 in Thurgoland) and Arthur (born in about 1886 in Thurgoland). In 1901, the family was still living at Hill Top in Thurgoland. By that time, Ellen was still single, aged 28 and working as a dress-maker on her own account, while Arthur was employed as a railway worker.
By 1911, George was aged 33 and married to Elizabeth (née Darwin, who was born in Sheffield), who was aged 32. The couple reported that they had been married for six years and had had four children, one of whom had died in infancy. However, only one of their children was at home with them on census night – the three month old Mary Darwin Cooke, who had been born in Frankby. George’s 64 year-old mother, Hannah, was also resident in the household. She was described as being “married” instead of “widowed”, but her husband was not present. By this time, George was employed as an assistant school master by the “local council”, but it is not known to which council this refers (it could be either Cheshire County or Birkenhead Borough) and his school is not named. Neither do we know whether he was a primary or secondary school teacher.
At this point, we know very little about George’s military career, other than that firstly he served as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps and then in The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment) as a lieutenant and that he contracted a fatal disease in France from which he died at home in Heswall on 22nd October 1919. However, his long service papers exist and are kept at the National Archives (reference WO 339/101 898). Copies have been ordered and once they have been received and studied, this biography will be augmented accordingly.
George’s will was proved on 29th January 1920 and his estate worth £376 1s was passed to his widow, Elizabeth.
Birth: c.1877 in Thurgoland, West Riding, Yorkshire
Death: 22nd October 1919 in Heswall of a disease contracted in France while engaged in war service
Addresses: Hill Top, Thurgoland (81 – 01), Dingle Bank, Newton near West Kirby (11) Penlee, Pole Hill Road, Heswall, Wirral (19).
Occupation: Student (01), Assistant School Master (11)
Unit: The Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment)
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Frankby, Thurstaston Parish Church Yard
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, MC, Census: 81, 01, 11, Prob.