James COOK
Rank: Sergeant
Number: 13911
Date of Death: 16 July 1918
Age: 35
Cemetery: Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece

The family history website, CheshireBMD, records that the birth of James Arthur Cook was registered at Congleton in 1883. By the 1901 Census, his names are reversed but there is no doubt that Arthur James Cook is the same man. He and his father, William, were then lodging at 8 Knowles Court, Longton Street, Stockport - the home of Mrs Mary Lamb.

Two years later, James married Jane Hall at the Hanover Chapel on Lancashire Hill and they are thought to have set up home at 10 Harrop Street.

James' service number is an early one, suggesting he was one of the original recruits to the newly formed 9th Battalion, in October 1914. The Battalion went to France in September 1915, but its stay there was brief. In the October, it transferred to the Salonika  theatre of war, in northern Greece, where it would face the Bulgarian Army.

This little reported (and little remembered) part of the Great War was categorised by even more stalemate than is normally recalled from the trench warfare in Belgium and France. Disease was the big killer, outnumbering deaths from enemy action by a ratio of three to one.

On 1 July, the Bulgarian infantry attacked the positions then being occupied by the men of the King's Own, but it was repulsed. That night, the Battalion was relieved from the front line. Going into various reserve position camps. "D" Company went to "Crow Hill" camp. Over the following days, the men worked on improving the "second line" trench system. The weather was very hot and the men will have been glad of a complete rest day on Sunday 14 July. They were back working on the defences the next day.

The Battalion's War Diary records that the 16th was again a very hot day. Between 5 and 6 in the afternoon, the enemy shelled Crow Hill with 77mm shells, killing James and two other sergeants and wounding several other soldiers.

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