Private William Kyle Cooke


William Kyle Cooke was born on 11 February 1898 at 2 Albert Place, Kilmainham, South Dublin, the first of five children of prison warder William Thomas Cooke and his wife Katherine (née Kyle). By the time of the 1911 Census he was living at 32 Dublin Street, Dundalk, with his parents and his three surviving siblings. His family later moved to Belfast, living at 38 Dargle Street, where his father died on 16 June 1917.

Cooke enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Antrim on 19 November 1915 (No.1926 – later Corps of Hussars No.71638). He gave his age as 19 years and 270 day (two years more than his true age) and his occupation as cinema operator. He trained at the regiment's Antrim reserve depot before embarking for France on 27 July 1916. There he was posted to one of the squadrons of the 1st North Irish Horse Regiment.

On 7 January 1918 Cooke was one of thirteen members of the 1st NIH Regiment who transferred to the Tank Corps (No.305511). After training at the Tank Corps depot at Bovington near Wareham and qualifying as a Tank Mechanic Class 2, he was posted to the 9th Battalion, embarking for France on 6 April.

The 9th Battalion, Tank Corps, saw much action during the Advance to Victory offensive, at St Ribert (23 July), Albert (23-25 August), The Scarpe (26 August), Drocourt/Queant (2 September), St Quentin Canal (29 September and 1 October), and the Sambre (4 November). Cooke was wounded (concussion) during one of these actions (possibly at St Quentin Canal). He was medically classified as B(ii) and on 25 November 1918 was transferred to the Army Service Corps (No. M/410617) as a 'learner electrician'. He returned to the UK on 11 January 1919, and on 8 February was demobilised and transferred to Class Z, Army Reserve. He was granted a pension due to the concussion he had sustained.

After the war Cooke lived at 38 Dargle Street, Belfast. He joined the Ulster Special Constabulary – by December 1922 he was serving in No.11 Platoon at Newtownbutler, County Fermanagh.

Cooke married Sarah Sydney Elizabeth Sayers on 26 December 1934. He died at 33 Killeaton Park, Derriaghy, County Antrim, on 26 December 1955, and was buried in the Belfast City Cemetery -  Glenalina Extension.