Personal info

  • Name: Edgar Christopher COOKSON
  • D.O.B: 13th December, 1883
  • D.O.A: 28th September, 1915
  • D.O.D: 28th September, 1916
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Lieutenant Commander, HM Gunboat Comet, Royal Navy

Near Kut-el-Amara, Mesopotamia 28 September 1915

28 September 1915

More details about:
The First World War Mesopotamia 1915-1918 

In September 1915 General Townshend advanced his troops from Ali Gharbi on the Tigris towards Kut-el-Amara, the capture of which would secure British control of the Turkish Province of Basra. Kut was defended by the forces of Nurredin Pasha, the Turkish commander in Mesopotamia. The Turkish army was in strong defensive positions on either side of the river about eight miles east of Kut and the river was blocked by a boom consisting of iron hawsers linked to a dhow in midstream. After preparatory operations, Townshend launched his attack on the Turks on 28 September. The northern part of their line was overrun and British troops worked their way behind the central part of the Turkish line. Thinking that the enemy would retreat, Townshend ordered the boom to be cleared so they could be pursued. When it grew dark, Lieutenant Commander E C Cookson, in command of the naval force present, positioned his own ship Comet by the dhow at the centre of the obstruction, but was killed when he gallantly took it upon himself to try and cut the hawsers. The next day the British occupied Kut and the boom, which had effectively been abandoned by the Turks, was dismantled.

Citation

 On the 28th September, 1915, the river gunboat “Comet” had been ordered with other gunboats to examine and, if possible, destroy an obstruction placed across the river by the Turks. When the gunboats were approaching the obstruction a very heavy rifle and machine gun fire was opened on them from both banks. An attempt to sink the centre dhow of the obstruction by gunfire having failed, Lieutenant-Commander Cookson ordered the “Comet” to be placed alongside, and himself jumped on to the dhow with an axe and tried to cut the wire hawsers connecting it with the two other craft forming the obstruction. He was immediately shot in several places and died within a very few minutes. 

Supplement to The London Gazette of 21 January 1916. 21 January 1916, Numb. 29446, p. 943

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