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Photograph depicting the deck of the WYATT EARP

Date: 1947
Overall: 230 × 225 mm
Medium: Photograph, paper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Rhod Cook
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: ANMS1445[121]
Related Place:Melbourne, Antarctica,

User Terms

    Folder containing official naval appointment documents for William 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.
    SignificanceThis folder of official naval appointment documents is significant because it provides a complete record of William Cook's service aboard ships during his naval career. Cook's record can be traced from his origins as a Naval Cadet Midshipman at Flinders Naval Depot in 1930 to his appointment to the honourary rank of Captain upon retirement in 1960. Further, his complete collection of 'flimsies', or conduct documents, chronicle how he was perceived by his superiors before, during and after the Second World War. Such comprehensive service records for a single individual during the period covered (1930-1960) are relatively rare.

    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.

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