Ernest Newton Cook
The first that I heard about Sgt Cook was a brief mention in “Corunna Downs, The Invisible WW2 Airfield” by Antonio Cafarella.
In the book, Sgt Cook (or Cookie) is
described as doing “ a wonderful job of relieving the men’s boredom”.
In civilian life prior to the war he had been a cinema operator for 17
years, with 15 years at Hoyts and 2 years at the Metro Theatres in
There are old photos that clearly show where the outdoor cinema used to be at Corunna Downs Airbase, and today one can still wander around and pick out its location, near the ironstone hill.
Unfortunately, Sgt Cook fell from a truck on the way to Marble Bar and was killed. In his record there is only a small notation that indicates he was killed on 5/12/1944. Sadly in military parlance he was struck off strength from 73OBU the same date. At this time his records show that he left behind a wife, a daughter and a son.
It is unclear whether any others were killed in airborne operations, however, it is certain that Sgt Cook was the only man killed whilst on duty at Corunna Downs.
His War Records are now available on the internet from the National Archives of Australia.
The photo from his records shows a man
that looks like many other ordinary Australians from the time. But all
of those men proved that the ordinary man will do extra-ordinary things
to protect what he loves. Thousands joined the forces immediately after
Ernest Newton Cook's grave is in the War Graves Commission of the Utacarra Cemetery in Geraldton. We have left a tribute to SGT Cook at the Comet Museum at Marble Bar.
|From Corunna Downs Secret Air Force Base|
And he is not forgotten.
We Will Remember Them
Each year on ANZAC Day we say the words “Lest We Forget”, the time to search for one man to the efforts to locate the HMAS Sydney surely prove we don’t forget, and nor should we.
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