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Epaulette belonging to Captain William Cook, RAN

Date: 1930-1948
Dimensions:
Overall: 130 × 55 × 8 mm
Medium: Cotton, metal, leather, silk
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Epaulette
Object No: 00054688

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    Description
    Mentioned in Despatches certificate awarded to Lieutenant Commander Frederick Norton Cook, RAN. 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 Mentioned in Despatches certificate was one of two such awards granted to Lieutenant Commander Frederick Norton Cook during the Second World War. Cook served with distinction during the conflict, was presented to King George IV, and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for gallantry. He was also the only Australian aboard HMS Royal Oak when it was torpedoed at Scapa Flow in September 1939, and one of only 400 of Royal Oak's complement of 1200 to survive the ship's loss. He later served as Naval Force Commander of Operation Biting, a Combined Operations raid on a German radar installation at Bruneval in northern France in 1942. For his role in the raid, Cook was awarded the DSC, and was later tasked with organising and commanding Australia's first Combined Operations Training Centre.

    This certificate was awarded to Cook for his leadership following the loss of the Royal Navy cruiser HMS Curlew on 27 May 1940. Cook was the ship's second-in-command, and led his fellow surviving crewmen o shore where they joined Allied army units and fought Axis forces until evacuated back to the United Kingdom.
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