Squadron Leader Arthur Sydney COOK DFC DFM

Service No: 406614
Born: Claremont WA, 24 October 1921
Enlisted in the RAAF: 3 February 1941
Unit: No. 156 Squadron (RAF), RAF Warboys, Cambridgeshire
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal (DFM), 20 April 1943 (Citation Title: No. 103 Squadron RAF)
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) 22 October 1943 (Citation Title: No. 156 Squadron RAF)
Died: Air Operations: (No. 156 Squadron Lancaster aircraft JB242), Germany, 4 October 1943, Aged 21 Years
Buried: Durnbach War Cemetery, Germany
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Alfred Reginald and Violet May Cook, of Claremont, Western Australia.
Roll of Honour: Claremont WA
Remembered: Panel 120, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Cenotaph Undercroft, State War Memorial, Kings Park WA
Remembered: Honour Avenues, Kings Park WA

Squadron Leader Cook was 21 years of age when he died, and was one of the youngest officers of his rank to be killed on Bomber Command operations in 1943.

DFM Citation: “Sergeant Cook, an Australian, was posted to No 103 Squadron (RAF) on 13th October 1942, and since this date has carried out 18 sorties in Lancaster aircraft.  Throughout his operational tour, this Non-Commissioned Officer has shown outstanding determination to press home his attacks with accuracy and to bring back a record of his achievements. He was particularly successful in his attacks on Milan on 14th February 1943, Turin on 4th February 1943, and Lorient on 16th February 1943.  He is a keen and conscientious Captain of aircraft whose quiet confidence and courage have been an inspiration to the squadron and he is strongly recommended for the award of the DFM, 19th February 1943.

DFC Citation: “One night in August 1943, this officer piloted an aircraft detailed to attack Nuremburg.  Whilst over the target area, the bomber was subject to heavy and concentrated anti-aircraft fire.  In spite of this, Flight Lieutenant Cook displayed great tenacity and, at the third attempt, successfully bombed the target.  This officer has participated in very many sorties and his determination to complete the allotted task, whatever the opposition, has set a very fine example.” (London Gazette 22/10/1943, Page 4673).

Lancaster JB242 took off from RAF Warboys at 1829 hours on the night of 4/5th October 1943, detailed to bomb Frankfurt, Germany.  Nothing was heard from the aircraft after take off and it failed to return to base. All the crew lost their lives and they are buried in the Durnbach War Cemetery.

The crew members of JB242 were:

Squadron Leader Arthur Sydney Cook DFC DFM (406614) (Pilot)
Pilot Officer Michael John Coyle DFC (49719) (RAF) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Stephen Clifford Paul Godfrey DFC (130595) (RAFVR) (Navigator)
Flight Sergeant Merrik Haslegrave (1582945) (RAFVR) (Mid Upper Gunner)
Flight Sergeant William Buthart MacKinley (1557233) (RAFVR) (Rear Gunner)
Flight Lieutenant Conal Brenden Thomas McSweeney DFC (144212) (RAF) (Air Bomber)
Sergeant David Lessels Wilkie DFM (539504) (RAF) (Flight Engineer)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records (RAAF Casualty Information compiled by Alan Storr (409804))
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A705, 166/8/249


Gaston, Bruce DFC (406646), Harry Horner DFC OAM (406595), Raymond Storer (406666) (Editors), Aircrew for the Duration: of and by members of RAAF EATS Courses 10, 11, 12 & 13, Gaston Horner and Storer, Nedlands WA, 1990

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