News | 29 October 2021

Lance Corporal Robert Cook – The Essex Regiment – Laid to Rest

A British soldier who died during the First World War has finally been laid to rest in Belgium – more than 100 years after his death. Lance Corporal Robert Cook received full military honours after his identity was confirmed by experts, known as the War Detectives.

He was among tens of thousands of soldiers who lost their lives during intensive fighting around the town of Ypres, dying on 2 May 1915 aged 38.
Born in Bishop Wilton in 1876 in the East Riding of Yorkshire, he was one of seven children and served with the 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment. He had also served in the Boer War in South Africa. He is now buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s New Irish Farm Cemetery near Ypres.

Lance Corporal Robert Cook - The Essex Regiment - laid to rest

Present were members of the modern equivalent of his regiment – members of the C “Essex” Company of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment.

His body, like so many others, had been missing for a century and his name was among 54,000 inscribed on the Menin Gate memorial to the missing. Between 2014 and 2015, the remains of 24 soldiers were found during construction work, near what is believed to have been a Regimental Aid Post during the war.

His was found with a medal ribbon bar, shoulder ties and the cap badge of The Essex Regiment. All but one of the soldiers have been buried following investigations by the Ministry of Defence’s Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre (JCCC). To this day, tens of thousands of those who fell in Flanders fields, including during the three battles of Ypres, have never been found.

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