Thomas Cooke (VC) : biography
Thomas Cooke VC (5 July 1881 – 25 July 1916) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.
Born in Kaikoura, New Zealand, he was 35 years old, and a private in the 8th Battalion (Victoria), Australian Imperial Force during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.
On 24/25 July 1916 at Pozières, France, after a Lewis gun had been disabled, Private Cooke was ordered to take his gun to a dangerous part of the line. He did fine work, but came under very heavy fire, and finally he was the only man left. He still stuck to his post and continued to fire, but when assistance finally arrived he was found dead beside his gun.
Thomas Cooke was born in New Zealand, but an Australian resident and in the Australian forces, so can be considered an Australian or a New Zealand winner of the VC.
His Victoria Cross is displayed at the QEII Army Memorial Museum at Waiouru, New Zealand.