It is with true sadness that I must report the recent passing of Owen Cook. This news is doubly sad as it was only a few weeks that we were wishing Owen congratulations of reaching the magnificent age of 100 years old.
As part of his birthday celebrations Owen had received representatives from the Royal Australian Air Force (also celebrating their centenary) – to receive a plaque commemorating Owen’s service and also the fact that he was older than the RAAF itself. Sadly a few days later on the 14th of May, Owen left us.
I have simply decided to reproduce the post below that I made for the celebration of Owen’s 100th, this time as a celebration of his life.
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
I am sure you will all join me in passing our condolences to Owen’s family
Ake Ake Kia Kaha!