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NZEF diaries

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I am trying to discover more on the following casualty who is named on our local War Memorial in Flamstead, Hertfordshire (where he originated from).

Auckland Museum Cenotaph Record

Full Name Private Leonard Cook

Rank Last Held Private

Forename(s) Leonard

Surname Cook

War WW1 1914-1918

Serial No. 6/2581

Next Of Kin Mrs L I Cook (Mother), Cob’s Hill Farm, Flamstead, near Dunstable, Bedfordshire, England

Marital Status Single

Enlistment Address Acton, Rakaia, New Zealand

Military District Canterbury

Body Of Embarkation 6th Reinforcements

Embarkation Unit Canterbury Infantry Batallion

Embarkation Date 14 August 1915

Place Of Embarkation Wellington, New Zealand

Transport HMNZT 27 or HMNZT 28

Vessel Willochra or Tofua

Destination Suez, Egypt

Campaigns Battle of Messines

Place Of Death Belgium

Date Of Death 7 June 1917

Cause of Death Killed In Action

I wondered if anyone might know of the whereabouts of copies of the War Diary for the 1st Canterbury Regiment NZEF for early June 1917, or information from any other source, in the hope that these might tell me more about how and where he might have died.

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Hello Flamstead

Although I do not have the WD, the following may be of help

His service file can be ordered via Archway. If you visit in person, you can ask it to be digitised for free (generally available online after 2-3 weeks). If you are ordering remotely there is a $25 fee.


Have you seen the Unit History?

You can read it online at the following link


You could try searching the papers past site for mentions. The following link shows one of the search results for Leonard Cook, but try L. Cook also.


I have some photographs of Leonards headstone and some more general shots of Messines Ridge Cemetery. If you would like them, PM me your email address and I will send them on.



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Wendy Macpherson

History of the Canterbury Battalion

Battle of Messines

The 1st Canterbury had been in the tunnels in Hill63 since the evening of the 5th of June 1917.

At 9.30pm on the night of the 6/7th June the battalion left for its assembly trenches, via Plumduff and Calgary Avenues and were in position by midnight.

Zero hour was fixed for 3.10am on the 7th June.

At zero hour the leading waves of the 1st Canterbury Battalion left the assembly trench in a line in extended order, and advanced across No-Man's Land till they were checked by our barrage on the enemy front line.

New Zealand Eletronic Text Center, you can read the official history of the Canterbury Battalion here: Battle of Messines, chapter IX Page 157 onwards http://www.nzetc.org...i-WH1-Cant.html


Oops just saw that nzef has also posted this link. Never mind, all makes for a great read tho.

Edited by Wendy Mac...

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Hi Wendy,

Many thanks for that.

As you say - it is a story worth repeating.


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Talbot Hosue

Looking for auckland diary first and second battalions for 7 - 8 June and 1 December 1917. Would very appreciate the help. Guiding relatives of two kiwis on Monday.

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