Ernest Cook

Rank:                         Private

Service No:                CH/9181

Date of Death:           06/02/1915

Age:                           37

Regiment/Service:     Royal Marine Light Infantry

Cemetery                    Sheerness Cemetery, Isle of Sheppey, Kent.


Ernest was born on 12th December 1877 in Derby. His parents were William Henry Cook (1840-1916), a soldier, and Margaret Davis (1851-1894). Ernest had nine siblings: Annie (b.1869), William George (1870–1884), Marion (b.1873), Rose Adelaide (1875-1934), Edith Kate (1879–1882), Alice Maud (b.1882), William (b.1884), Katharine Lilian (b.1887) and John Clifford (1891–1970).

At the time of the 1881 Census, the family were living in Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire. William's occupation is listed as, ‘fireman and brazier’. The entry also states that Annie had been born in India, from which it would seem that he had previously served in the army. From 1884 onwards, the family lived in Islington, London.

At the time of the 1891 Census, Ernest, aged 13, was living with the family of a hairdresser at 21 York Road in the parish of St Pancras, Euston, London and employed as a hairdresser's assistant.

Ernest enlisted in the Navy on 19th August 1896. He served in the Royal Marine Light Infantry. At the time of the 1901 Census, he was based at Malta as a member of the crew of HMS Renown, a pre-dreadnought battleship of the Centurion class.

On 28th May 1906, Ernest married Edith Blanche Neve (1881-1910) at St James the Less, Bethnal Green, London. The marriage register lists their address as 210, Old Ford Road, Bethnal Green and Ernest’s occupation as ‘mariner’.

At the time of the 1911 Census, he was based in China and the East Indies as one of 63 Royal Marine Light Infantry who were on board HMS Berwick, one of ten armoured cruisers of the Monmouth Class. His marital status is recorded as ‘widower’. Sometime between April 1911 and the outbreak of war in 1914 he retired from the service as subsequent naval records indicate he was in receipt of a naval pension.

At the time of his death, H.M.S. Wildfire was a shore establishment at Sheerness. It would appear that Ernest was killed through being knocked down in Sheerness Dockyard by an engine engaged in shunting.

The March 1915 edition of the St Luke’s Finchley Monthly Magazine notes his death, saying that he was ‘killed by accident in Sheerness dockyard. He was called out with the reservists in August and lived with a married sister in 9, Lichfield Grove’. His estate was worth just £48, which he left to his sister, Mrs Rose Adelaide Munday, who was married to a police constable.

Some records add an 'e' at the end of Ernest's surname and others do not, but we believe the information set out here is correct.