CWG: Deck Hand Harry Cook

Deck Hand Harry Cook

Harry Sidney Cook was born in April 1892, the youngest of six children. His parents John, a clay digger, and Ann lived in Rainham, Kent, and had two other boys and three girls.

By the 1911 census, the family seem to have gone their separate ways. John and his youngest son were boarding away from the rest of the family, and Harry listed himself as a fisherman. There is no immediate record of his mother, Ann, while his oldest brother Arthur had passed away, and his closest sibling Albert was working as a labourer in Essex.

Shortly after the census was taken, he married Alice Pearce. They lived in a house by Rainham Station and soon had a son, Frank Sidney.

Harry enrolled in the Royal Navy in March 1916, and served on a number of vessels during the war and in the months afterwards. Shortly after enrolling, he and Alice had twins, Daisy and Edith.

Deck Hand Cook was serving on HMS Hermione in February 1919. A guard ship in Southampton, towards the end of the war, she became the HQ Ship for motor launches and coastal motor boats serving the Solent.

It was while he was working there that Harry contracted pneumonia. He was admitted to the Haslar Royal Naval Hospital in Gosport, but passed away on 14th March 1919. At 26 years old, he had become a father for the fourth time just three weeks before; it is likely that he never got to meet his youngest daughter, Alice.

Deck Hand Harry Cook was brought back to his home town of Rainham to be buried. He lies at rest in the St Margaret’s Churchyard, Rainham.

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