Search the Collection
Advanced Search

Royal Victorian Order Charter awarded to Captain William Cook, RAN

Date: 1 April 1954
Overall: 390 × 325 mm
Medium: Paper, ink, pencil
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Certificate
Object No: 00054704

User Terms

    Charter awarded to Captain William Cook, RAN designating him a Member of the Fourth Class (Lieutenant) of the Royal Victorian Order. This object is one 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 Royal Victorian Order Charter awarded to William Cook is significant because it is an original document associated with Queen Elizabeth's first visit to Australia in 1954 (the first visit by a reigning British monarch to Australia). It is also testament to Cook's exceptional performance as a naval staff officer during the Royal visit, and bears two authentic signatures by the Queen.

    Cook had a distinguished naval career, and served aboard notable Australian warships during the Second World War, including HMAS Perth (I), HMAS Voyager (I) and HMAS Nizam. He was mentioned in despatches for his service aboard Voyager during the Greek campaign in 1941. Awarded command of Nizam at the age of 28, Cook became the youngest Australian to command a destroyer during the conflict. He was later present at Tokyo Bay (while in command of Nizam) during the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on 2 September 1945. He later served as First Lieutenant of HMAS Wyatt Earp, the first Australian vessel to conduct Antarctic research in the immediate post-war period.

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.