Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (3 December 2020)

Date of Auction: 3rd December 2020

Sold for £1,900

Estimate: £1,400 - £1,800

A Second World War ‘North West Europe’ M.M. group of four awarded to Lance-Sergeant Walter Cooke, 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, for gallantry in the attack on Hertogenbosch in October 1944; he was subsequently killed in action in January 1945

Military Medal, G.VI.R. (4613606 L. Sjt. W. Cooke. Oxf. & Bucks. L.I.); 1939-45 Star; France and Germany Star; War Medal 1939-45, good very fine (4) £1,400-£1,800


M.M. London Gazette 5 April 1945. The recommendation states:

‘On 23 Oct. during there attack on ‘s Hertogenbosch, L/Sgt Cooke was Pl Sgt of No 13 Pl of C Coy 1st Oxf & Bucks L.I. The attack took place through thick country, the woods containing German posts strongly entrenched, with machine guns firing down from ridges and across clearings.
About 0700 hrs on the 23 Oct 44, No 13 Pl advancing through the woods came on a clearing and were held up by heavy machine gun fire from a post about 100-yds distant in the corner of the clearing.
The Pl comd gave out orders for a flanking attack by 2 sections, and they started off. Before they had got far, however, they saw L/Sgt Cooke emerge from a small patch of cover on the flank of the enemy post. He threw 2 grenades into the enemy position and then charged into it firing his sub-machine gun. He killed two Germans, took five PW and captured the machine gun.
The advance was thus able to continue, and certainly L/Sgt Cooke’s inspired initiative contributed in some measure to the speed and success of the whole op.
Throughout this action L/Sgt Cooke displayed rare qualities of courage and leadership; he was an inspiration to his Pl and indeed his whole Coy. His behaviour deserves reward.’

He was killed in action on 7 January 1945, aged 26. He was the son of James Herbert & Annie May Cooke of Doncaster, Yorkshire, and is buried in Hatton War Cemetery, Belgium.