20101 Private Henry (Harvey) Harvey Cook – NZ Machinegun Corps

The Cooks’ originated in Scotland with the family being 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. One of these children was James Henry Cook, born in 1864.[i]

Henry Harvey Cook was born, on 27th November 1895, in Pauatahanui the son of James Henry and Sarah (nee Harris) Cook.

Henry had two older twin sisters, Nora and Ida, and two more brothers, James Reginald (who died in infancy) and Arnold. Tragedy hit the family in 1899 when Sarah died from burns. James Henry Cook remarried, in 1900, Lavinia Jane Kilminster.  Lavinia Jane (nee Monk) Kilminster was a young widow with a daughter, her husband had died in 1897. Lavinia and James had six children, five of them boys.[ii]

Harvey was enrolled at the Judgeford School in 1901 joining cousins and siblings at the school.[iii]

When Harvey (as he was known locally) enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force his enlistment papers note that
he was a single man employed on the farm of Mr H Abbott, Pauatahanui.[iv]

20101 Private Henry Harvey Cook entered, on 1st May 1916, Trentham camp with the 16th Reinforcements and after
basic training left, on 23rd September 1916, as 20101 Private Cook, 17th Reinforcements, Machine Gun Section.

On arrival in England Private Cook first went the Sling Camp for more basic training before being sent to the NZ Machine Gun Corps training school in Grantham, England.  Private Cook remained in Grantham until 24th April 1917 when he was sent to France. In France more advanced training in the NZMGC Reserve units was completed before Private Cook was
sent, on 24th June 1917, to the front lines to join the 4th Specialist Machine Gun Company, NZMGC. At this stage of the
war, the Battle of Messines gains were being consolidated and the NZMGC was about to be withdrawn from the line for
rest and recreation.

In July / August 1917 there was the build up to Passchendale with the Machine Gun corps units being moved back to the front line. On 7th August 1917 Private Cook was reported wounded, this was a gunshot wound to the back but only resulted in severe bruising (Contusion) and he remained with his unit rather than being evacuated to a Casualty Clearing Station (CCS).

On the 4th October 1917 the New Zealand Division launched it assault on the Gravenstafel Ridge, this was considered a moderate success with only 340 New Zealanders being killed. On the 12th October 1917 a second assault was launched in what would be the blackest day in New Zealand military history, Passchendaele, a complete failure with 845 men killed
and 2700 wounded.

Prisoners and NZ Wounded October 1917

20101 Private Cook was one of those wounded with a
fractured right forearm and the effects of a gas shell.
Private Cook was first moved to 44th Casualty Clearing
Station then to the 1st South African General Hospital
where he was stabilised before being evacuated, on
23rd October 1917, to the 1st London General Military
Hospital where he remained until December 1917. On
the 11th December 1917 Private Cook was transferred
to the 2nd General New Zealand Hospital for assessment
and transferred to the NZ Convalescent Hospital in
Hornchurch, England. Private Cook would remain at
Hornchurch until May 1918 and during this time he was
assessed and declared unfit for active service so on, 24th August 1918, he was shipped back to New Zealand.

There is no record of continued medical treatment simply a note on file, 3rd July 1919, ‘discharged on consequence of
being no longer physically fit for service on account of wounds received in action.’[v]

Harvey returned to Pauatahanui his Victory and British War medals being sent to him there in 1921.
In 1925 Harvey married Sophia Beatrice O’Donoghue. They had at least one son as Harvey’s death in Palmerston North
on 25th January 1954 was reported by his son, Mr H D Cook.

Harvey Cook is commemorated on the Pauatahanui Roll of Honour held at the St Alban's Church, Pauatahanui. 

See 13/1601 Trooper Winford Robert Kilmister story – South Africa and 1st NZEF KIA Egypt 1916 - uncle
See SA2222 Trooper Alfred (Alf) Cook  - uncle

Helen Reilly (2013) Pauatahanui – a local history: Pauatahanui Residents’ Accusation
Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 20101 Private Henry Harvey Cook
J H Luxford (1923) With the Machine Gunners in France & Palestine: Whitcombe and Tombs. Auckland.
Judgeford School Class Lists 1879 - 1936

Prisoners and NZ Wounded: RSA Collection - Alexander Turnbull
(need to attributed background painting

[i]    Pauatahanui – a local history:  Cook Family 
[ii]   Births, Deaths & Marriages: Department of Internal Affairs online.
[iii]  Judgeford School Rolls, Class lists 1879 - 1936
[iv]  Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 20101 Private Henry Harvey Cook
[v]  Archway Archives New Zealand – Military records: 20101 Private Henry Harvey Cook
Landscape Passchendaele 1917