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Ephemera related to Captain William Cook's naval career

Date: 1930s
Medium: Photograph, paper, ink
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Archive series
Object No: ANMS1445

User Terms

    Ephemera relating to Captain William Cook's ca. 1930s Royal Australian Navy uniform, including one black-and-white photograph (1936), two modern colour photographs (2002), and a handwritten note explaining how it was originally purchased. These objects are part of a large collection of documents, photographs, uniforms, ship badges and ephemera associated with the Royal Australian Navy service of brothers William Cook and Frederick Cook. Both men entered service prior to the Second World War, were seconded to the Royal Navy, and underwent training at Greenwich and Portsmouth. Frederick Cook later gained fame as the only Australian survivor of HMS Royal Oak, torpedoed by a German U-boat in October 1939. William Cook was the youngest commander of an Australian destroyer during the Second World War, and was First Lieutenant of HMAS Wyatt Earp, the primary research vessel for the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition in 1947-48.
    SignificanceThe photographs depict Captain William Cook wearing his naval uniform as a young officer and later as an elderly man, while the note (written by Cook himself) details how he acquired his uniform and provides context for the photographs. Cook was a Royal Australian Navy officer who was the youngest destroyer commander of the Second World War (in command of HMAS Nizam) and present at Japan's surrender in September 1945. Cook also served as second-in-command aboard HMAS Wyatt Earp, the first Australian naval vessel to participate in an Antarctic research expedition (the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition) in the immediate post-war period.
    HistoryHMAS Wyatt Earp was originally built as the Norwegian fishing vessel Fanefjord in 1919. In 1933 it was purchased by American Antarctic explorer Lincoln Ellsworth and named Wyatt Earp after the famed American lawman of Dodge City, Kansas and Tombstone, Arizona. The vessel was acquired by the Royal Australian Navy in 1939, renamed HMAS Wongala (an Indigenous Australian word meaning 'Boomerang'), and operated as an examination vessel and guardship in South Australian waters during the Second World War. In 1947 the vessel was renamed HMAS Wyatt Earp prior to its involvement in the Australian National Antarctic Resarch Expedition. It was decommissioned and sold in 1951, ultimately renamed M/V Natone, and was wrecked on Queensland's Rainbow Beach in January 1959.

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