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SA2222 Trooper (Alf) Alfred Cook – 5th Contingent, New Zealand Mounted Rifles
 
The Cook family originated in Scotland and were among the first Scots to immigrate to New Zealand under the New Zealand Company’s settlement scheme. They originally settled in Petone but by 1861 David Cook was farming in the Judgeford area of Pauatahanui. David married Mary Galloway (another early Pauatahanui family) and they had nine children[i]. One of these children was Alfred (Alf) Cook born on the 4th January 1875.[ii]
 
Alf grew up in Judgeford, Pauatahanui and as a 25 year self-employed farmer enlisted on the 27th March 1900 in the 5th New Zealand Contingent for the 2nd Anglo-Boer War. SA2222 Trooper Cook sailed from Wellington on the SS Waitemata on the 31st March 1900. Trooper Cook was part of the 12th (Wellington) company. Also sailing with the 12th Company
was SA2203 Trooper Albert Morgan from Tawa and SA2456 Trooper George Valentine Corlet from Johnsonville.e).
 
The 5th Contingent landed at Beira, Mozambique in April 1900 where along with the 4th New Zealand Contingent, the
6th New South Wales Imperial Bushmen, they formed the 2nd Brigade of the Rhodesian Field Force.[iii] Private Cook was awarded the Rhodesian clasp and paid 5 shillings a day for crossing Rhodesia, a  journey whick took from 1 April until
9th May 1901.[iv] The 2nd Brigade entered Northern Transvaal initially moving towards Mafeking with the two NZ Contingents then moving towards the Elands River. At Elands River a large Boer force was laying siege to Braikfontein Drift held by a force of Australian and Rhodesians. The 4th & 5th NZ Contingents were to the north of Braikfontein when a relieving column, lead by Lord Kitchener reached Braikfontein from the south.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A sergeant of the 5th Contingent on the Veldt
 
The 5th Contingent was then involved in operations in Western Transvaal from  August 1900 through to the end of May 1901 with engagements at Ottoshoop, Buffelshoek, Ventersdroop Vyeborg and Harteestfonteing.
 
The nature of the conflict and the harsh terrain resulted in a large number of men from the New Zealand contingents becoming casualties because of disease. Trooper Cook is listed as going into hospital in November 1900 with malaria
and dysentery. In February 1901 Private Cook had recurrence of the complaints which resulted in him being invalided back to New Zealand.
 
Trooper Cook was shipped first to Australia for treatment and then to New Zealand on SS Tongariro, arriving in Dunedin on the 8th May 1901. He was assessed by a medical board on arrival in New Zealand  and passed as  ‘fit’ by the board and was granted one month leave prior to being discharged on the 8th July 1901.
 
SA2222 Trooper Alfred Cook was awarded the Queen’s South Africa medal with provincial clasps for Rhodesia, Transvaal, Cape Colony and year clasp1901. Trooper Cook was awarded the Coronation Medal in 1902.
 
The Defence Department actively looked for work for returning serviceman and Alf was confirmed as being in a position in a 15th November 1901 memorandum sent by the Clerk of the Lunatic Asylum, Wellington to Sir Arthur Douglas, Defence Department:[v]
 
‘Sir,
I am instructed to inform you that Alfred Cook has been engaged
as an Attendant in the Asylum, also, that at present there are no
other vacancies on staff.
 
Yours obediently
A W Wills. ‘
 
Queen Victoria died on the 22nd January 1901 and her son Edward VII was to be crowned her successor. Coronation Contingents from the Empire were dispatched to act as bodyguards during the coronation ceremonies. Three detachments of men were sent from those serving in South Africa and those who had returned to New Zealand. There was also a 'native' detachment of Maori representing the various tribes.
 
Alfred Cook was selected and sailed for England with the New Zealand based soldiers. Also sailing with him was another Pauatahanui veteran SA3420 Trooper Charles Stuart who had served with the 6th Contingent. After a delay, due to the future king’s health, the Coronation of Edward VII and his wife Alexandra as King and Queen of the United Kingdom and the British Empire took place at Westminster Abbey, London, on 9 August 1902. The New Zealand Detachments returned to New Zealand in October 1902 and Alf returned to .civilian life.
 
Alf married Alice May Galloway in 1915, the couple had no children.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alice died in 1931 and Alf in 1945, Alf’s death notice on 19th August 1945 noted that he would be buried in the St Albans, Pauatahanui:[vi]
 
 ‘Cook,  - On August 15, 1945, at Wellington
            Hospital, Alfred,  husband of the late Alice
            Cook, Pahautanui. Service at Anglican Church,
            Pahautanui, 2 p.m. Tomorrow (Thursday),
            August 16, and thereafter to Churchyard Ceme-
            tery. Isaac Clark and Son.’
 
Notes:
The historic spelling of Pauatahanui (Pahautanui) has been used where quoted in documents.
P{rivate and Trooper are used in Military Files and newspaper articles for consistancy Trooper has been used in Porirua stories.
Also serving in the 5th SA2203 Private Albert Morgan (Tawa) & 
Also sedrving in WW1 nephew 20101 Private Henry (Harvey) Harvey Cook
 
References:
Papers Past online
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA2222 Alfred Cook
 
Photos:
Sergeant of the 5th Contingent: Google online
Wedding of Cook – Galloway: Cheryl Berquist
 
[i] Cook family Pauatahanui – a local history:  Pages 234 - 235
[ii] 1875/5836 Alfred Cook: Births, Deaths & Marriages: Department of Internal Affairs online.
[iii] NZ Units in South Africa 1899 – 1902 – The contingents: NZ History online
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand- Military Files: SA2222 Private Alfred Cook
[v] Archway Archives New Zealand – Military Files: SA2222 Private Alfred Cook
[vi] Deaths – Cook (15th August 1945) Evening Post
  
 
Sergeant from the 5th Contingent NZMR on the Veldt