Topic: Cyril Bigthan Cooke

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Cyril Cooke (Service no. 12107) was a First World War soldier with links to New Brighton

Cyril Bightan Cooke Cyril Bigthan Cooke was born on 24th December 1895. His family consisted of his father Joseph Arthur Cooke who was a chemist, his mother Mary Elizabeth Cooke and two younger sisters, Ivy and Cecelia.

The electoral roles of 1905-1906 and 1914 showed that the family was located in New Brighton, Christchurch firstly in James Street and then in Nelson Street which was Cyril's last noted New Zealand address. As a child, he attended New Brighton School where in 1906 he was awarded a prize in the school's annual prize giving.

After school Cyril became a farm labourer and when the war broke out he registered at the Kaiapoi Defence Office where he was passed as fit and joined the 12th Reinforcements Canterbury Infantry Battalion, C Company. On 1st May 1916 he left New Zealand departing from Wellington on board the ship Ulimaroa which headed for Suez, Egypt and arrived there on 9th June 1916. 

Eventually as part of the Canterbury Infantry Regiment 2nd Battalion he was posted to the Somme, France where major battles took place. After first being reported as missing Cyril was then found to have been killed in action on 1st October 1916. He was just 20 years old.

Private Cyril Bigthan Cooke's memorial is located in France at the Caterpillar Valley (New Zealand) Memorial Cemetary in Longueval, Somme. His war medals were delivered to his father after the war and his name can still be seen on the New Brighton School Roll of Honour.


Related Resources:

  • Online Cenotaph record for Cyril Cooke
  • Cyril Cooke's military personnel file in Archway
  • Ancestry Library Edition: New Zealand Electoral Rolls, 1905-1914
  • Births, Deaths and Marriages


  • New Brighton, Papers Past: Press, Volume LX11, Issue 12683, 22 December 1906, Page 12
  • Recruiting, Papers Past: Star, Issue 11590, 7 January 1916, Page 5

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Cyril Bigthan Cooke

First Names:Cyril Bigthan
Last Name:Cooke