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Lieut W.F. Cooke, Western Scotts, 67th Pioneers - Gov. Mod. 1911, seeking info on Cooke

June 18 2012 at 5:45 PM


I own a pistol that once belonged to Lieut W.F. Cooke who served during WWI with the 67th Pioneers.

I've been trying to find more information about this man, and what battles he might served at. The previous owner told me he believes Cooke survived the war, and that he may have been at Ypres, but that's all he knows.

Any information would be greatly appreciated. Colt has confirmed based on the serial number this pistol was one of the 5000 Government Model 1911's purchased by the Canadian Government in 1914. I have had several Colt experts confirm the pistol is all original, including the barrel which is still in good shape.

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The fine engraving reads:


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I also own what I believe is the correct Mills holster, also purchased by the Canadian Government in 1914 with C broad arrow in the flap:

[linked image]

Any information on Cooke would be extremely appreciated!


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Michael Dorosh

Nice find

June 18 2012, 5:59 PM 

Nice find, thanks for sharing the photos.

I guess the question is, what research have you done to date, including - have you engaged the services of a genealogist in the Ottawa area to access his personnel file yet (or have you made the trip yourself)? Library and Archives Canada maintains these records. Have they been able to assist you?

It's nice to see this history preserved. Hopefully a photo of the officer will surface.

His attestation paper should be online, unless you've already accessed that as well - the CEF's attestation papers were all recently digitized - let us know if you need help accessing these.

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William Forrest COOKE

June 18 2012, 8:27 PM 

Less than 10 minutes on the LAC site uncovered his name and most of his file. Previous service in South Africa he was president of a lumber company in Canada when he enlisted in 1915. He eventually rose to the rank of Lt-Col and was awarded two Mentions in Despatches and the DSO.
If you spend some time on his pay allotments you may even find his repayment for the Colt.


For more information on the purchase of the Colt 1911 and the Mills holster I recommend "Canadian Military Handguns - 1855 to 1985" Museum Restoration Service, by that incomparable Canadian arms historian Clive M. Law

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June 18 2012, 8:31 PM 

That would be Lieutenant William Forrest Cooke, born Aug 26, 1882 in Hull Quebec. He attested as an Other Ranks solder and was assigned service number 102524, but was discharged almost right away to receive a commission. When he declared (attested) as a Lieutenant on Aug 21, 1915 in the 67th Battalion he was the president of Northern Lumber & Mercantile Co. Ltd. in Prince George B.C. He had previously served as a corporal in the Boer War. During the war he received field promotions to Captain (Oct 23, 1916) and Major (May 12, 1917). He transferred to the 54th Battn for a short time in May 1917, and then transferred to the CFC (167th Battn). He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel Jan 11, 1919, before demobilization. He was awarded the DSO Jan 1, 1918 (London Gazette 30563, dated Mar 8, 1918, pg. 2973), and was twice Mentioned in Despatches in 1917. He appears to have suffered two wounds at different times, but I don't have the details.

Hope this helps.


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More information on Cooke

June 30 2012, 9:40 PM 

Check this web page if you haven't already. The Canadian Great War Project.


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June 18 2012, 10:04 PM 


Michael, Clive, and Dan: Thank you guys for taking the time to help with my request. It's greatly appreciated!

This is groundbreaking news for me regarding my pistol, I'm very excited to discover it belonged to such an impressive Canadian! It really makes me appreciate the pistol even more.

I'll be spending some time going threw the information I've been given and printing all of these records to go with the pistol. I'll try to proceed from here, you guys have pointed me in the right direction.


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June 19 2012, 3:36 AM 


While you are reading through the trove of material provided from the web, don't forget to go to the Service Publications website and purchase the book that Clive recommended. After all, he did do 10 minutes of archival searching for you.


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"My" book

June 19 2012, 7:04 AM 

Although I wrote this book it was published by Museum Restoration Service. This means that I don't have any copies for sale. With the principal of MRS now deceased I believe that his stock was bought my Joe Salter in NS. Good luck.

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Thanks guys!

June 19 2012, 4:14 PM 


Thanks again for doing the research, I have been on the lookout for my own copy of the book, however I do luckily have access to a friends copy.

Now, I just need to find a good photo of Cooke.


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Found a copy

June 24 2012, 7:52 AM 

of "your" book at the Etobicoke Militaria show yesterday thanks to Dave H. Very nice addition to my library!
Cheers, Dave

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