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Certificate of appointment issued to William Frank Cook

Date: 16 March 1937
Overall: 335 × 210 mm
Medium: Ink on paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Certificate
Object No: ANMS1445[117]
Related Place:Melbourne,

User Terms

    Signal log pages from HMAS Wyatt Earp during its 1947-48 voyage as part of the Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition. 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 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition was the first concerted effort by Australia to establish permanent scientific research stations in Antarctica following the end of the Second World War. In many respects, the ANARE was the precursor of today's Australian Antarctic Division, and the organisation persists today as a conglomerate of several Australian governmental and non-governmental organisations. HMAS Wyatt Earp was specifically selected for the inaugural expedition because it had been used in prior Antarctic voyages of exploration and research. It was the first--but by no means last--commissioned Royal Australian Navy vessel to partake in scientific voyages to Antarctica. The signal log pages chronicle Wyatt Earp's movements during the expedition, as well as weather conditions encountered by its crew, and other observations that are not mentioned in general histories of the expedition.

    William 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.

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