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How Cookson's bravery earned a Victoria Cross.

WHILE thousands of Liverpudlians were fighting in Flanders and in the Dardanelles during 1915, the war was also raging in the ancient lands of Mesopotamia.

It was here, in September 1915, that Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Cookson was to lay down his life for his country - and in the process be awarded a Victoria Cross for bravery.

On September 28, Tranmere-born Cookson was in command of the British gunboat HMS Comet, taking part in the advance on Kut-el-Amara, 100 miles south of Baghdad on the River Tigris.

His citation explained: "The Comet had been ordered with other gunboats to examine and, if possible, destroy an obstruction placed across the river by the Turks.

"When the gunboats were approaching the obstruction, a very heavy rifle and machine-gun fire was opened on them from both banks.

"An attempt to sink the centre dhow of the obstruction by gunfire having failed, Lieutenant-Commander Cookson ordered the Comet to be placed alongside, and himself jumped on to the dhow with an axe and tried to cut the wire hawsers connecting it with the two other craft forming the obstruction.

"He was immediately shot in several places and died within a very few minutes."

The 31-year-old, the youngest son of naval captain W E Cookson, was buried near to Ali Gharbi, and is remembered at Amara war cemetery.

The VC was not the first award he had received. In May 1915, commanding what has been described as a 'decrepit old steam river launch' covered with armour plating, the crew ran into an ambush on the Euphrates.

His actions there gained him a DSO.


The report of Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Cookson's VC award

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2014
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