Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook – Birthday celebrations – 100 years young!

Perhaps now a silver lining to the recent sad cloud of the losses of some of our veterans

I am pleased to report, albeit a little belatedly that Owen Cook, Pilot with 75(NZ) Squadron reached, on Saturday the 27th of March, the magnificent age of 100!

Owen arrived with crew, at Mepal, on the 2nd of March 1945 and as it would transpire later, we discovered that in fact his 2nd, 2nd Dickie Op was with my own Father’s crew, during his 2nd Tour with the Squadron.

Owen, flew 6 Ops before the War’s end and then undertook 2 Manna and 2 Prisoner Repatriation sorties, before finally posting out of the Squadron on the 3rd of July 1945.

Whilst transcribing Bob’s tour and crew histories, early in my research on him, I hit a brick wall regarding the identity of a second pilot added to the Form 541 by hand for the Dessau Op of 7th March 1945.

On the Sunday morning of the summer reunion at Mepal 2012, my sister, mother and I went to the memorial garden so mum could see it and the plaque for Dad. while we were there, an old couple, their daughter and her husband arrived. A brief discussion about their whereabouts (i.e. that this was the memorial garden for 75(NZ) Squadron) led to a discussion in the garden and then the 3 Pickerels pub. The elderly gentleman was called Owen Cook and he had been at the squadron towards the end of the war. On returning home I looked through the nominal roll and the ORB and found Owen’s arrival and Op history. Finding his serial number suddenly made me realise that the Pilot that flew with the Zinzan crew on this raid was in fact, Owen Cook……..

I am pleased also to recall, that having met Owen and his family and posted about our meeting on the site, we were able to reconnect Own with his Navigator, Jack Mitcherson.

Owens recollections of the War and his time in the Squadron can be read in more detail here, on the Australian War Memorial website

So, I am sure you will all be happy to raise a glass to Owen on reaching this fantastic milestone!

Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

4 thoughts on “Owen Joseph ‘Cookie’ Cook – Birthday celebrations – 100 years young!

  1. Jan

    Belated Birthday wishes to a wonderful gentleman. Re-connecting him and my Dad, Jack Mitcherson, through this site meant a great deal to Dad before her died, and my subsequent meeting with Cookie and his beautiful family will long be remembered.

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  2. jimmy parr

    Wonderful to hear that Owen has reached his 100th birthday, many congratulations and Kindest regards to Owen and his family.
    My father ( Miles “Joe” Parr) also was a member of the “Zinzan ” crew and completed 33 ops, but very sadly was taken from us too early in 1977. It was even suggested in the early 50’s that “Taff” had asked my dad to go out to New Zealand on work on the farm with him and his boys, Peter and Ricky.

    Regards Jimmy Parr

    Ake Ake Kia Kaha!

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  3. Jim Cooper

    Belated Happy Birthday wishes to a True Hero. Hope you and your family had a wonderful day.
    My Dad Wi Rangiuaia was based at Mepal at the same time.
    God Bless and stay safe.
    Kind Regards Jim Cooper.

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  4. Campbell McTavish

    Dear Simon and all who have responded
    I have just today read your article on Owen and heard from Jack Michersons daughter, Jan Richards. Owen will be so pleased to hear from you both again. Owen and I have spoken many times about how wonderful it was to find his mate ‘Mitch’ and then to be visited by Jan was very special to us all.

    We haven’t been in contact with you for some time. Seven years since we met in the UK. I just said to Teresa yesterday I would send you a message to let you know Owen has hit the ton and you have beaten me to the move.

    Owen and Faye are very well and we had a wonderful day with the family and all the letters from the Queen etc. Owen is still as sharp as a tack. Just sleeps more now. He has had quite a few other tributes. The Australian War Memorial wrote a very good article about Owen from material organized by my sister-in-law Kristine Cook and there is also an article on the Facebook site of Darren Chester, the Australian Minister for veteran’s affairs from info I provided. Evidently the RAAF is honouring all 100 year old veterans as part of the RAAF 100th anniversary celebrations. It’s strange to sobering to think Owen is four day older than the RAAF.

    Since we last spoke, I have discovered an image you might find interesting. I long thought the only Cook Crew photo that Owen had was of the of the group of six, before the engineer
    joined the crew. I mentioned to Owen recently the pity that there was no photo of the full crew.
    Well, to my surprise he said “We’re all standing together in the B Group Squadron photo”. So with magnifying glass in hand, he showed me the crew and named them all. So I have isolated the crew as a separate named photo. Very pleasing. I would like to add it to Owens story if you don’t mind

    I have also just completed cataloguing all of Owens war photos into chronological order and named them. They range from his first call up into the army in Victoria, Tasmania, Canada, USA, UK and return home. I know they aren’t all direct RAAF history but they chronicle a young man’s training and action from 1941-45. If you would like, Owen agreed I can send them to you.

    I will read your article to Owen and to Faye. I know they will be thrilled to hear from you again.
    I will be more diligent about keeping contact for important events in the future.

    Kind Regards

    Campbell McTavish
    Son-in-law for Owen Cook)

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