Thursday, 21 July 2022

Alfred Owen Cookson 1894 - 1918

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve record, page 1 of 5, for Alfred Owen Cookson
(from Find My Past)

Q1 1894 in Wakefield Registration District.

Son of:
Albert Cookson and Kate Maud (nee Smithson) who married in the Tynemouth Registration District in Q2 1891.
Albert Cookson was born in Stanley, Yorkshire in 1862 and was baptised at the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel.  He died in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1943 and is buried at Harehills Cemetery, Leeds. In 1901 he was a Mining Engineer. In 1911 he was a Colliery Manager. In 1919 he was an Auctioneer.
Kate Maud Smithson was born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland in 1869. Her father, William Smithson, was an Accountant.  Kate Maud Cookson died in Leeds in 1945 and is also buried in Harehills Cemetery.
Position in family: Alfred was the second of three children born to Albert and Kate Cookson

1. Violet Sarah Cookson b. 4 February 1892 in Farrington Gurney, Somerset. Baptised in the Wesleyan Methodist Chapel at Paulton, Somerset on 1 March 1892.  Violet married Richard Cooper in 1918 in Leeds.
2. Alfred Owen Cookson b.1894 in Wakefield RD. Killed in Action on 8 October 1918 in France
3. John Cookson b. Q1 1912 in the Barnsley RD.

Home address, age and occupation:
1901: 1 Dawson Square, Tynemouth, Northumberland. Kate Cookson and her two children were living with (or visiting) her brother Alfred Smithson, who was a Mariner.
Alfred Smithson was, in 1911, a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve, serving on H.M.S. Satellite.

1911: Kendal Green, Worsborough Bridge, Barnsley. Albert and Kate Cookson and their two children Violet and Alfred were together in this census. Albert Cookson was a Colliery Manager and Alfred Owen Cookson was a Mining Student.

1914/15: Dale View, Kendal Green, Worsborough Bridge, Barnsley.

1918/19: Denholme, Denton Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds. In Alfred Owen Cookson's Probate Calendar entry his father, Albert Cookson's occupation was given as Auctioneer. 

1919 Probate Calendar Entry for Alfred Owen Cookson (from Ancestry)

Marriage: Alfred was unmarried.

Military Service:
Enlisted: 17 November 1914 at the age of 20 years
Service:    Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Rank: Sub-Lieutenant (published in the London Gazette 24 November 1914)

April 1915: Alfred gave evidence in court in South Shields Police Court that a Swedish gentleman had been taking photographs of 'certain naval works' on the river Tyne at Newcastle. Sub-Lieutenant Alfred Owen Cookson, who was in a patrol boat on the river, was called to give evidence that he had observed the defendant taking photos while on a steamer proceeding down river.
(Newcastle Journal, 2 April 1915, p. 6  on Find My Past)

October 1915: to Hawke Battalion Royal Naval Division
December 1915: Attached to the 6th Corps Mining Company.
February 1916: In hosptial in Alexandria with tonsilitis
March 1916: Embarked on H.M.T. "Llandovrery Castle" from Alexandria, Egypt for Mudros.
May 1916: Transferred to Hood Battalion, Royal Naval Division.
August 1916: Embarked at Alexandria for Marsailles and then at Havre for England.
September 1916: At Blandford Camp, England with 4th Reserve Battalion
December 1916: Embarked at Folkstone for Boulogne, France
December 1916: Joined Hawke Battalion.
March 1917: Attached 189th Siege Battery Royal Garrison Artillery.
April 1917: Promoted to Temporary Lieutenant
June 1917: Leave in England for 10 days.
October 1917: Wounded by shrapnel.
August 1918: Leave in England for 14 days
October 1918: Killed in Action in France.

[Source: the above are just a few of the details from his Royal Naval Division Records on Find My Past]

Alfred Owen Cookson was entitled to the 1914/15 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Death:   8 October 1918 aged 24 years. 
Initially remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in France
Updated in 2022:
Buried in Proville British Cemetery, France
Grave Reference: I.C.10 Commonwealth War Graves Commission

St Edmund's Church, Lidgett Park Road,
Roundhay, Leeds, West Yorkshire
War Memorials Register

(Note that Alfred's rank was recorded as Captain in the RND on this memorial)

Roundhay World War 1

Roundhay World War 1 © John E Scurr (WMR-85676)

Alfred's parents were still living on Denton Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds when the 1939 Register was taken on 29 September 1939. His father Albert was listed as a retired Mining Engineer.  His brother John Cookson, was living with them. He was aged 27, and was an Engineer's Assistant, Head Clerk. He was unmarried at this time.
Alfred's sister Violet and her husband Richard Cooper were also living in Leeds. They appear to have had five children by 1939, although the names of three are redacted in the 1939 Register suggesting they were still living when the records were released in 2015.

The article "WW1 graves re-dedicated after bodies of sailor-soldiers finally identified" appeared on the Royal Navy website on 20 July 2022. It includes information on Alfred's death and the dedication of his new gravestone. A family member was noted as being his 'niece-in-law' Elizabeth Cooper, who is most probably a relative by marriage of a child of his sister Violet.

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