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John Cobook Biography

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JOHN COOK was born at Garven Terrace in Stevenston on the 11th of March 1909. The family moved to 31 Station Square prior to 1913, and John likely received his education at the Stevenston Junior Secondary School. He probably left school about the age of 14 and was apprenticed as an iron moulder at the nearby Ardrossan Winton Foundry.
This came to a halt with the onset of the Great Depression about 1930. For a time he found work as a labourer on the construction of sea defences along Saltcoats Promenade. John eventually followed his father into the ICI explosives factory in Ardeer, where he joined the Blacksmiths Department.
At the age of 27, he married a shop assistant named Elizabeth Eve-lyn Haire Grant, at Ardeer Parish Church on the
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However, based on evidence of his time in Africa a safe guess can be made as to his movements between 1941 and 1943. In August 1941, the British Chiefs of Staff recommended that the four Revenge-class battleships – Revenge itself, as well as Resolution, Royal Sovereign, and Ramillies – should be sent to bolster Singapore against the increasingly aggressive Japanese. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was completely opposed to this, however, calling the Revenge-class “coffin ships.” Following this, Revenge and Royal Sovereign were deployed to the Indian Ocean for convoy escort duties. Revenge was briefly in Freetown, Sierra Leone before sailing in escort for Cape Town, South Africa on the 1st of September. On the evening of the 2nd, one of the convoy ships, RMS Orion, collided with Revenge following a malfunction. The convoy arrived in Cape Town on the 11th and Revenge underwent re-pairs. It spent the subsequent months carrying out further convoy duties in the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea. The Revenge-class ships, launched during the First World War, were unpopular with the Admiralty and this likely resulted in their being kept out of the…show more content…
The Eastern Fleet was divided into Force A and Force B and March saw Revenge, as part of Force B, patrolling the waters south of Ceylon, sweeping east by day and west by night. By April, the Admiralty had realised that the Eastern Fleet was inferior in all respects to the fleet of the Imperial Japa-nese Navy. George Mason writes that the Revenge-class ships were “con-sidered more of a liability than an asset due to their slow speed and poor anti-aircraft armament,” and as result were withdrawn to Africa. Between May 1942 and July 1943, Revenge returned to defensive duties in the Indian Ocean, spending the period September-November 1942 in Durban un-dergoing further refits. In July 1943 Revenge was nominated to return home and she arrived in the Clyde on the 9th of September.
John returned home on leave a handful of times throughout the war. Anna stated that he rarely spoke of his wartime experiences, though the mention of Durban and Cape Town, beads and wooden carvings brought home with him, and photos of villages with straw huts all point-ed to his time in Africa and the Indian Ocean. She recalled that her
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