© Avening Parish Council 2023
“Preserve, Conserve, Enhance”
16 Ernest Cooke
Private: 10th Battalion Gloster Regiment
Edward Cooke was born in Stroud in 1890, the youngest of three children born to Daniel Cooke and
his wife Louisa, née Payne. Daniel was from a family with a strong history in Stroud although his
wife was born and bred in Wotton under Edge.
We know nothing of Edward’s life after the Stroud census of 1901 until he entered France on the 4th
of October 1915 joining the battalion just three days before the battle at Loos which claimed the life
of Samuel Fletcher of Avening (see Roll of Honour No. 10).
The battalion was involved in a number of skirmishes against the enemy but were mustered with
the remainder of the 1st Division at the beginning of July 1916 for the Allied “Big Push” at the
Somme. There were a number of different battles that made up the Somme campaign and on the
20th of July the 10th Battalion was involved in an area south of the village of Martinpuich where, it
was hoped, they could capture some German trenches.
The attack started at 12.30 am on Sunday the 23rd July, with two companies involved. B Company
attacked on the right and D Company on the left. A few men of B Company got into the German
trench but as a whole, the venture was a failure. However, with the aid of some reinforcements, B
Company seized a portion of high ground which, the War Diaries say, “enabled us to observe the
enemy’s line which had not previously been under our observation”.
The attack was not without loss however. The battalion lost 12 men killed, 60 wounded and 72
missing. Edward was one of those declared missing but, in a short mention in the Cheltenham Echo
in January 1917, he was confirmed as “Killed in Action”. He died on the same day as Frank Locke of
Crackstone who was fighting with the 5th Battalion at Pozières (see Roll of Honour No. 14).
The Victory Medal, the General Service Medal and the 1915 Star would have been sent to his mother
at the end of the war. He was unmarried.
We have not been able to locate any living relative nor have we yet found the connections that
Edward had with Avening. The 1911 census has an Edward Cooke, born in Stroud in 1890, living in
Bedwellty, Monmouthshire and working as a collier but we cannot be sure it is the same person.