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The Airmen's Stories - Sgt. A W Cook


Arthur Willson Cook was born on 16th January 1919 in Easington, County Durham and was employed as a motor salesman when he enlisted in the RAFVR at Hartlepool in July 1939 as an Airman u/t Aircrew. He was called up in December and posted to 3 ITW Hastings where he stayed until April 1940.

In June he went on a gunnery course at 5 B&GS Jurby, Isle of Man then to 5 OTU Aston Down on 20th July to convert to Blenheims. He then joined 604 Squadron at Middle Wallop on 20th August 1940 as an Air Gunner.



Cook remained with the squadron until 20th February 1941 when he went to No. 1 School of Army Co-operation at Old Sarum. He was posted to the Overseas Air Delivery Flight Kemble on 26th April and from 14th July to 12th September 1941 Cook served with 216 Squadron at Heliopolis and 223 Squadron at Shandur.

After a short spell with 69 (General Reconnaissance) Squadron in Malta, he joined 1437 Strategical Reconnaissance Unit in Libya on 30th November 1941, later serving with it in Sicily, Italy and Persia.

Cook was awarded the DFM (gazetted 2nd June 1942) for a sortie over Benghazi. His Baltimore was attacked by six enemy fighters. Although his gun was rendered useless by icing conditions and he was in grave danger from enemy fire, Cook gave cool and skilful instructions to his pilot and endeavoured to take photographs of the enemy aircraft.

Commissioned from Warrant Officer in July 1942, Cook returned to the UK in November 1943 and after a Specialist Armament Course at Manby he became an Armament Officer at Morpeth in May 1944.

He was appointed Station Armament Officer at RAF Dalcross in January 1945.

Cook was released from the RAF in December 1945 as a Flight Lieutenant.

He died in Daventry in July 1990.


His older brother Squadron Leader Albert Kenneth Cook was awarded the DFC at the end of his first tour of 37 operations as a bomber pilot flying Hampdens with 83 Squadron. He went on to become a production test pilot at AV Roe & Co. Ltd at Woodford, Manchester.



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