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Private Henry James Cook
21594, 8th Bn; Royal Fusiliers

Mac McIntyre (who researched this section of the Virtual Museum) wrote initially: This soldier is a complete mystery. We have no record of his connections to Hungerford, or his military service.

The fact he is shown on the War Memorial as a PTE (Private) indicates he was probably in the Army.

In Hungerford Town hall there is a board listing all those who served from the town including some who died. (The list does not coincide in terms of names with the War Memorial). One soldier listed on the board is a Henry J. Cook – France. I believe this to be the same soldier. France indicates this soldier fell in France.

There is no known record of this soldier on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission although it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that one of the many H J Cooks listed could be him. [When the original information was compiled it required the family to provide details. In many cases this did not happen].

Alan Rutter kindly emailed the Virtual Museum (Oct 2014) with the following additional information:

"I may be able to shed some light on Private H J Cook whom you have listed as 'a mystery'. I believe this to be my maternal grandfather Henry James, who died on the Somme in 1916.

Whilst being born in East Garston he was living in Hungerford at the time of his death."

Alan Rutter added (Sep 2015): Further to previous emails I believe that I now have the definitive story of Henry James Cook. The clinching document (for me at any rate!) was an entry in the National Army Museums' Register of Soldiers Effects. This document was only available online from earlier this year and shows that 'Lizzie' was the beneficiary. He was married to Lizzie and I can find no other H J Cook married to a Lizzie.

Private H J Cook
21594, 8th Bn; Royal Fusiliers
Died 1 July 1916, just 22 days before his daughter Dorothy May - my mother - was born.
He is remembered with Honour at Dantzig Alley British Cemetery, Mametz
He is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

My paternal grandfather (Cecil L J Rutter) lies in the cemetery just a few miles away on the opposite side of a main road.