Release From Cecil Cook 16th DLI

Pte Cecil Cook, HQ Company, 16 DLI, 1940-46
Pte Cecil Cook 1940 Royal Scots

From Doncaster, Pte Cecil Cook was originally enlisted in the Royal Scots Fusiliers (3181554) from 16/10/39 and is pictured at right in his Royal Scots service dress prior to his transfer to the Durham Light Infantry on 27/4/40. The 16th DLI was formed in Edinburgh in July 1940 with a cadre of trained NCOs and soldiers drawn from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Regiment and with a smaller number of trained DLI men coming from the DLI depot at Brancepeth. These then set about training the several large drafts of several hundred raw new conscripts that arrived in Edinburgh in July 1940.

It thus seems likely that Cook was briefly at Brancepeth before being posted to the 16th Battalion. All documents on this page are courtesy of his granddaughter Michelle. Cecil Cook’s Release Leave Certificate, below notes that he was employed in the 16th DLI as a cook. His reference for prospective future employers, signed by the Battalion CO Lt Col Denis Worrall reads as follows:

Military conduct; ‘Exemplary, has done well in action.

Testimonial: ‘He is a hard worker who can always be relied upon to do his best. He has had considerable experience as cook. I recommend him for a position of trust.’

Cecil Cook also features on this photograph of several HQ company men in Austria in 1945

And also on this photograph from the same period.

He was thus one of the very few 16th DLI men to serve with the Battalion for the entire period of its existence from July 1940 to early 1946. One 16th DLI veteran told me that there were only 57 men still serving with the Battalion in early 1945 of the 700 plus that sailed away to war in December 1942. All of those who served ‘from the first to the last’ seem to have been presented with a special leaving certificate. I have only ever seen these for 16th men who served from 1940-46. If anyone has seen a certificate for a soldier serving for a shorter period of time with the Battalion I would be very interested in seeing it.

Cecil Cook’s 1946 leaving certificate and his record of service document are on this page.