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Flight Sergeant (Temporary Warrant Officer) 512168 James Charles Christopher Cook



He was born on 25th December 1911 at Thornbury Herefordshire. His civilian work was a motor driver and he had worked for Central Garage, High

Street, Dorking Surrey

He married Winifred Irene Dennis On 27th July 1935 at Portsea, Portsmouth .

They lived at 2 Station Road , Brockhurst.. They had 3 children Shirley Helen Maude Cook, Brian James Dennis Cook and   Patricia Anne Cook.

He joined the RAF on 5th February 1930.His religion was recorded as Church of England.

His home address then was 244 Gypsy Road, West Norwood SE27. At enlistment his height was 5 feet 11 inches with a chest size of 34 ½ inches. 

He had Dark hair with brown eyes and a fresh complexion. There were 2 identifying marks noted, a small fracture of the left 4th finger joint and a small mole above the upper lip.

He was sent to the Training Department Squadron on enlistment and on 5th June 1930 was sent to S.T.T ( School of Technical Training ) for training.

On 25th November 1930 he was posted to Fort Grange, RAF Gosport . His trade was that of Petrol driver and was obviously involved in refueling

 exercises. On 31st December 1931 he had made rank as Aircraftman Class 2 this he held throughout 1932 when his character was stated to be very

 good and his proficiency was satisfactory. In 1933 when his character was stated to be superior, and his proficiency superior, he was reappraised

 and recommended for promotion. This was done on 31st December 1934 and he made the rank of Aircraftman Class 1.


16th March 1932 he was hospitalized at Royal Naval Hospital Haslar and discharged 12th Apr1932. Haslar Farm, over the creek from Gosport, was

 bought in 1745 as the best available site for the hospital.

While the relative isolation of the location in the late 1700’s – there was no Haslar Bridge at the time – might have seemed a drawback, the

 majority of Haslar’s patients arrived by rowing boat from the Naval ships in the harbour or at Spithead. There are those who assert that this

 situation gave rise to the expression “up the creek”, meaning in a good deal of trouble; if you were taken “up the Creek” to Haslar, then you

 were likely to be in poor shape. This still applied in 1940! Many of the hospital’s historic buildings have survived the ravages of time and war –

 the latter possibly explained by the fact that the Luftwaffe found Haslar’s prominent water tower a handy navigational aid for its bomber pilots

 who were trying to locate their Portsmouth targets.

He was posted from Gosport to No13 (AC) Squadron on 31 st March 1933 this was a squadron reformed at Kenley in April 1924, the Squadron

 resumed its army co-operation role with Bristol Fighters and played a major role in developing co-operation between land and air forces. Atlas',

 Audaxes and Hectors were subsequently used, before Lysanders arrived in 1939. As part of the BEF in France during the early part of World War II,

 No. 13 Squadron carried out tactical reconnaissance missions, before returning, a much depleted force in May 1940.

On the 4th April 1933 he was posted to No 2 ATC He was then admitted to Grimsby District Hospital on the 19th April 1933 for 3 days being moved

 to Cranwell General Hospital

 21st April 1933 and discharge back to No 2 ATC on 27th April 1933. He appears to have had some leave and was reposted back to No 2 ATC 13

 Squadron on 5th May 1933 .

On 4th October 1935 he was posted to an RAF Maintenance Unit in the Middle East . On 18th October 1935 he was assigned to 2 Aircraft PK later

 renamed 4 aircraft PK this was more than likely in Western Iran .

He was then posted to HE ( ? ) on 27th December 1935 . At this time he was reappraised and his character still being very good and his proficiency

 superior he was made up to Leading Aircraftman as of 31st December 1935  From there he was posted to SH and RAF Gosport on 6th January 1936.

 He was then posted to No.2 Balloon Training unit at

 Rollerstone on 14th January 1937 . On the 4th August 1937 he was posted to No 1 Balloon Training Unit at Cardington, Bedfordshire. On the 20th

 November 1937 he was then

 posted  to No 2 Balloon Training Unit at Rollerstone. On the 31st December 1937 he was then reappraised and his character still being very good

 and his proficiency satisfactory he was made up to corporal in the Balloon Command.

On the 16th May 1938 he was posted to 908 Balloon Barrage Squadron based in Kidbrooke.  




On 31st December 1938 he was he was reappraised and

his character still being very good and his proficiency satisfactory he was made up to Acting Sergeant. War was imminent and on 17th September

1939 he was sent to the Anti-gas School based at Rollerstone Camp. This former airfield and camp is located 4 miles north west of Amesbury off

 the B3086 Larkhill to Shrewton Road . The airfield on the south side of the road was in use from September 1939 to July 1946 by the RAF Anti-Gas

  School aircraft. The technical and domestic buildings were located on the north side of the road. Rollestone Camp was used from July 1916 by the

 Royal Flying Corps No 1 Balloon School to train personnel in the use of observation balloons. Training with balloons ceased in 1939.



The Balloon Sheds at Rollestone c.1930s



Rollestone Camp in 1945 with the two balloon sheds
and an aircraft hangar beside the patch of trees.


The airfield returned to farming after World War Two and the camp was handed over to the Army who continue to use it today. The two balloon sheds and the aircraft hangar

 survive and are in commercial use and can be viewed from the roadside at the end of the camp buildings.


On the 31st December 1939 the war was in full swing and he was reappraised and his character still being very good and his proficiency superior he was made up to Temporary

 Flight Sergeant. On the 1st May 1940 he was made a Warrant officer.


 On the 1st June 1940 he was sent to the Central Trade Test Board for balloons ( known by most airmen as Brains Trust” – meaning Central Trades

 Test Board, which examined candidates for a higher classification.) Subsequently, he was about to be posted to 934 Squadron when this was

 cancelled and he joined 30 Group Balloon Command based in London .

He retained the rank of warrant officer in Balloon Command through 31st December 1940 becoming a temporary Warrant Officer in Balloon

 Command right up until 31st December 1946 , through this period his character was very good and his proficiency superior. Throughout 1945 he

 was attached to the Central Trade Test Board for balloons.

On 31st December 1947 he was posted from Balloon Command to Military Transport Driving, with the rank of Temporary Warrant Officer, by now

 Barrage Balloons were not in use, although many were kept in readiness, and were used in places like Korea. He seems to have been sent to

 Henlow Aerodrome in January 1949 when he was sent to the Headquarters of the Engineering Division Technical College . In February 1950 he was

 assigned to No5 Personnel Dispatch Centre where he was assigned to the Middle East Air Force (MEAC), based at RAF Kabrit, Suez Canal Zone,

 Egypt. The OC was Air Marshal Sir Paul Holder (36054).

He continued in this role until 1951 when he was reclassified as Flight Sergeant with rank of Temporary Warrant Officer. He was reappraised on

  31st December 1953 and his conduct was excellent and his proficiency superior.

He then was posted back to the UK on the 25th July 1952 and via No5 Personnel Dispatch Centre was sent to No 16 Maintenance Unit in Stafford

 from 3rd August 1952 . The family now lived at 96 Trenchard Avenue, Beaconside, Staffordshire

Less than a year later he was posted on the 27th July 1953 to RAF St Eval in Cornwall . This became the home of 203 squadron and following the

 war the Squadron had flown anti-shipping patrols around the Middle and Far East with a variety of types including Baltimores, Wellingtons and

 Liberators, remaining in Ceylon until May 1946 when it returned to Leuchars and then St Eval and to re-equip with Lancasters.

He was discharged from the RAF on 4th February 1954 . Miscellaneous notes on his file show he had a motor accident on 28 Feb 1932 and an

 investigation held on 7th April 1932 , he also had a car accident that was investigated 20th  April 1934 .

His medal entitlement was a 1939-45 Defence Medal and the 1939-45 War Medal.

He passed away on July 1982 at Hillingdon.





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