Another Officer for 6 Squadron WW1 Roll of Honour

April 1, 2018

As part of the research process for my next book, I have come across a 6 Squadron observer who was wounded in action during WW1 but died from his injuries a year after the Armistice was signed. Because he died in a military hospital, his link to 6 Squadron was lost until now. Here is the story of what happened to 2nd Lt Frederick Charles Cook.

 

On the afternoon of 30th August 1918, 2nd Lt B J McDonald and his observer 2nd Lt Frederick Charles Cook (a 2nd Lt in the Bedfordshire Regiment before transferring into the Royal Flying Corps, training as an observer and then being granted a temporary commission as 2nd Lieutenant Obs in the RAF on the 5th August 1918) set out from 6 Squadron’s base at Acq to conduct a Contact Patrol in RE8 Serial E8. The patrol that day was over an area between Gavel and Fontaine-les-Croisilles, a few miles to the west of Cambrai. At some point in the mission McDonald and Cook's RE8 came under attack from an enemy aircraft and they were shot down, with Lt McDonald killed and Lt Cook severely wounded in the back and head. Both men were listed as ‘Missing in Action’, believed dead, but Lt Cook was taken alive and made a prisoner of war by the Germans. After the Armistice (I have been unable to determine the date), Lt Cook was repatriated and shipped back home to the London Hospital for assessment and then transferred to the Empire Hospital in Westminster, a War Office hospital dedicated to the treatment of officers suffering from traumatic paraplegia and brain injuries caused by bullet and shrapnel wounds. There Frederick Cook remained without any improvement to his condition, until he died of Paraplegic Hepatitis on the 9th October 1919, just twenty-one years of age. His death occurred shortly before the Empire Hospital was closed down and transformed into the Grange Rochester Hotel, which exists to this day. Lieutenant Cook was laid to rest in the Luton General Cemetery, only two miles from his parents' home. Though Fredrick Cook's name is recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database as a Royal Air Force officer who gave his life for his country, there is no mention that he was serving with 6 Squadron at the time he suffered the injuries that eventually killed him.

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