John Cook VC

Name: John Cook

Conflict: Afghan War

Gazetted: March 18, 1879

Service: Indian Army

John Cook VC
John Cook Medals
Medal group

Place/date of birth: Edinburgh/August 28, 1843

Rank when awarded VC (and later highest rank): Captain (later Major)

Date of bravery: December 2, 1878

London Gazette citation:

Bengal Staff Corps. Captain John Cook.

For a signal act of valour at the action of the Peiwar Kotal on the 2nd December, 1878, in having, during a very heavy fire, charged out of the entrenchments with such impetuosity that the enemy broke and fled, when, perceiving, at the close of the melee, the danger of Major Galbraith, Assistant Adjutant-General, Kurum Column Field Force, who was in personal conflict with an Afghan soldier, Captain Cook distracted his attention to himself, and aiming a sword cut which the Douranee avoided, sprang upon him, and, grasping his throat, grappled with him.

They both fell to the ground. The Dpuranee, a most powerful man, still endeavouring to use his rifle, seized Captain Cook’s arm in his teeth until the struggle was ended by the man being shot through the head.

Click here to see full Gazette entry.

Other decorations: N/A

Place/date of death:  Massif, near Sherpur, Afghanistan/December 19, 1879

Grave/memorials: Sherpur Cantonment Cemetery, Sherpur, Afghanistan; St Luke’s Church, Chelsea, London; College Church, St Andrews, Fife’

Origin of VC to the Lord Ashcroft collection: Purchased at auction, Dix Noonan Webb, London, 2004

Current location of VC: Displayed on rotation at The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes exhibition, Imperial War Museum