Story of the Winslow soldier who died on the last day of The First World War

Sergeant Robert Charles Cook
Sergeant Robert Charles Cook

The 11 November is a poignant date for everyone, marking as it does the anniversary of the end of the First World War and subsequently becoming 'Remembrance Day' for the sacrifices made in all armed conflicts.

However, for some families this day holds a more devastating meaning. Approximately 600 British soldiers died on the final day of the war. In a conflict that many would argue was pointless to begin with, these losses appear especially wasteful.

Sadly, a man from Winslow, Sergeant Robert Charles Cook, serving with the 9th (Service) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, was one of the men to lose their life on the final day of the war. He was just 21 years old.

The soldier was the son of Robert and Mary Cook of Market Square, Winslow, and had been working as a gardener before he enlisted on 21 October 1915, aged 19.

After being promoted to Lance-Corporal, he arrived in France on 19 February 1916 and took part in the Battle of the Somme, where he received gunshot wounds to the leg on 15 September and had to be evacuated back to Britain for treatment.

Cook recovered and was sent back to France, now as a Sergeant, in the summer of 1918 to help with what would become the final advance through Flanders.

On 18th September 1918, he was shot through the spine, leaving him paralysed from the waist down.

The brave Sergeant fought for his life for almost eight weeks but finally succumbed to his wounds on Armistice Day, 11 November 1918.

Sergeant Robert Charles Cook is buried in the St. Laurence Churchyard in Winslow.

Winslow is commemorating Remembrance Day with a service at the war memorial followed by a parade to the Royal British Legion which starts at 10:30am on Sunday.

The full story of Robert Cook is told in the book 'Winslow Fallen in the Great War' by Mark Randall.

The book is available from The Royal British Legion and the town council office for a suggested donation of £5, with all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.