Lieutenant Frank Wilkinson Cook, M.C., M.B.E., 121142, 2nd/4th Battalion, Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.
Frank Wilkinson Cook was born in Huddersfield on the 18th January 1919, the son of Lt. Frank Eaden Cook, M.C. and his wife Nora, nee Richardson, who had married at Highfield Congregational Church, Huddersfield on the 29th January 1918.
Lt. Frank E. Cook was killed in action on the 20th October 1918 at the age of 28 years, just nine months after his marriage, leaving his new wife pregnant with Frank junior, who was named after his maternal grandfather. The Cook family lived at Middle House, High Flatts (Denby Dale), Huddersfield at the time of Lt. Frank Eaden Cook's death.
Widow Nora Cook, aged 35 years, married architect Charles Kendall, aged 32 years of the Gables, Ossett at Christ Church, Woodhouse, Huddersfield on the 5th June 1926 when Frank W. Cook was 7 years of age.
In 1939, before joining the army Frank Cook was living in Chapel-en-le-Frith and studying to be a solicitor, but must have joined the Army early in WW2.
The 2/4th Battalion of the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry was created in 1939 in the Territorial Army when the 4th Battalion was split in two, creating the 1/4th Battalion and the 2/4th Battalion. The 2/4th fought with the 138th Infantry Brigade, part of the 46th Infantry Division in the Battle of Dunkirk with the rest of the BEF. They also fought in the Tunisia Campaign in the final stages of the North African Campaign and later in the Italian Campaign.
Frank Wilkinson Cooke married Edna Mary Braithwaite (born 1919 in Beverley) on the 4th December 1949 in Penang, Malaysia. There was one son, John R. Cook born in the York registration district in the September quarter of 1950.
The "Ossett Observer" had this short report about the award of a Military Cross:1
"MILITARY CROSS FOR OSSETT OFFICER"
The Military Cross has been awarded to (temporary Captain) Frank Wilkinson Cook, K.O.Y.L.I., in recognition of gallant and distinguished service in North Africa. He is the son of Mrs. C. Kendall, Southdale Croft, Ossett, and of Lieut. F. E. Cook, Manchester Regiment, who won the M.C. in the last war and was killed on October 20th 1918.
His stepfather, Mr. C. Kendall, architect, Ossett, who is at present serving as a Captain overseas, was also awarded the M.C. in the last war. Three Military Crosses in one family must be almost unique. He was educated at Wakefield Grammar School and Giggleswick, and has been serving since the announcement of the war".
In January 1943, the 2/4th Battalion of K.O.Y.L.I. sailed for North Africa, and took part in a number of engagements before the Germans were finally defeated in Tunisia in May 1943. At Salerno, in Italy, the 2/4th Battalion was one of the earlier units ashore, and fought all through the first winter campaign, crossing in turn the Volturno and the Garigliano, and fought against the German 90 Light Division at Celle.
Frank Wilkinson Cook remained in the army after WW2 as a career soldier. In 1957, whilst a Major serving in Cyprus with K.O.Y.L.I. he was recommended for a second Military Cross, during what was known as the "Cyprus Emergency" between 1955 and 1959, when the National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA), a Greek Cypriot right-wing nationalist guerrilla organisation, began an armed campaign in support of the end of British colonial rule and the unification of Cyprus and Greece (Enosis).
The recommendation for Frank Cook's M.C. was eventually upgraded to an award of an M.B.E. "in recognition of distinguished services in Cyprus during the period 1st January to 30th June, 1957." 2
On the 1st August 1972, Colonel Frank Wilkinson Cook was appointed as Deputy Colonel, The Light Infantry (Yorkshire) and remained in that post until 1977. After retirement from the army, Frank Cook became a Director of Huddersfield Golf Club Ltd until he resigned in 1992.
Frank Wilkinson Cook died in Huddersfield on the 1st January 1998 at the age of 79 years.
Researched and written March 2023 by Stephen Wilson for ossett.net.
1. "Ossett Observer", Saturday, June 19th 1943.
2. "The London Gazette", 19th July 1957