COOKE, Surtees Semer
(Service number 292)

Aliases Possible known as Semer
First Rank Driver Last Rank Lieutenant


Date 20 March 1881 Place of Birth Lexden, Timaru

Enlistment Information

Date 31 August 1914 Age 33 years
Address at Enlistment C/o J. B. Bellington, Oatlands, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Bushman
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status Single
Next of Kin George COOKE, Brooke House, Upper Clappton, London, England
Religion Church of England
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with Australian Imperial Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation 3rd Field Artillery Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship Divisional Train, No 1 Company
Date 18 October 1914
Transport Afric
Embarked From Sydney, New South Wales Destination
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Service Medals 1914-1915 Star,; BritishWar Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date Reason

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 9 September 1948 Age 67 years
Place of Death Sherwood, Asquith, New South Wales
Memorial or Cemetery Northern Suburbs Crematorium
Memorial Reference
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Surtees Semer Cooke was born on 20 March 1881 at Lexden, Timaru, the younger son of George and Mary Elizabeth (née Raine) Cooke. Surtees was a family surname in Durham and was continued as a given name in the Raine family. George Cooke was born in 1842 at Semer, Suffolk, his father being the rector there. His parents, however, divorced in 1863. George and Mary Elizabeth married on 7 December 1876 at St Patrick's Church, Burkes Pass. George was a sheep farmer in partnership with his brother-in-law, John Hunter Raine, probably at Sherwood Downs, until the partnership was dissolved in August 1882. George's oldest daughter was born at Waltham in September 1877, George then being of Sherwood Downs, as he was in November 1878. As of November 1884, George was of Lexden, Timaru. His sons had been born there, Surtees in March 1881 and George in July 1883.

It was in December 1884 that George Cooke, Esq, Wai-iti, having sold his property, auctioned at his residence "the Whole of his Very Superior Household Furniture, Stock, &c." This was indeed, a well furnished four-bedroom house, with dining room, kitchen, bathroom, dairy, wash-house, and servants' quarters. Stock (horses, cows, sheep) and sundries (farm implements) were also sold. The "Tongariro' left Lyttelton for London on 17 January 1885, among the second saloon passengers Mr George Cooke, Mrs Mary Cooke, Misses Alice and Nellie Cooke, and Masters Frank, C. L. and Alfred Cooke. Mary Elizabeth Cooke (Mrs George Cooke), late of Lexden, Gleniti, Timaru, died on 24 August 1888 in London. George was at the time at Upham, Southampton.

In 1891 Semer and his brother George were at Knutsford Inferior, Chester, England, with a widowed great-aunt, Elizabeth Irwin, her son Surtees Irwin, and three of her daughters. Surtees moved to Australia some time before World War I. Driver Cooke enlisted with the Divisional Train, No 1 Company of the Australian Military Forces on 31 August 1914. He was a bushman, 33 years old, single and of Church of England allegiance. His given address was C/o J. B. Bellington, Oatlands, Parramatta, New South Wales. And his next-of-kin was George Cooke, Brook House, Upper Clapton, London, England – his father? Lieutenant S. S. Cooke embarked with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade on 18 October 1914 at Sydney, New South Wales, per the “Affric”. Surtees who returned to Australia on 23 March 1919, was awared the 1914-1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal. On 4 June 1919 at all Saints Church, Tumut, New South Wales, Lieutenant Surtees Semer Cooke married Daisy Blanche Brown, of Tumut. On this occasion, Surtees was recorded as of Winchester, England.

When he had enlisted for World War II at Sydney, his next-of-kin was D. Cooke. In April 1947 Surtees arrived in the UK from Sydney, his address there being Irwin, Park House, Knutsford, Cheshire. He was then retired, having given his occupation post World War I as gardener. Surtees Semer Cooke died on 9 September 1948 at his home, Sherwood, Asquith, New South Wales, aged 67 years, and was cremated at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium. Daisy died on 30 January 1958 in New South Wales.


NZ BDM Indexes (Department of Internal Affairs) [24 January 2020]; Timaru Herald, 10 September 1877, 4 November 1878, 21 March 1881, 16 July 1883, 19 November 1884, 17 October 1888, South Canterbury Times, 21 August 1882, 6 & 22 December 1884, Star, 17 January 1885, Press, 17 January 1885 (Papers Past) [24 & 25 January 2020]; The AIF Project ( [24 January 2020]; 1891 England census return ( [24 January 2020]; England Probate Index ( [25 January 2020]; Adelong and Tumut Express and Tumbarumba Post, NSW, 20 June 1919 (Trove) [26 January 2020]

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, SC branch NZSG

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