This is John Cook's entry in the Education Department's Record of War Service.
The book is a fantastic resource for anyone like me who is interested in collecting the stories of Victoria's teachers, especially those who taught in the first half of the twentieth century. It combines the stories of their teaching careers with outlines of their war service.
5456 Acting-Corporal John Bruce Cook of the 21st Battalion was a married man aged 42 when he enlisted in February 1916. He and his wife Edith had been married for 12 years. They lived at 40 Victoria Street, Coburg with their two children, Dorothy aged 10 and Alison aged 2.
Cook's teaching service began in 1889 when he was 16. A Bendigo boy, his first school was Camp Hill State School. He became a certificated teacher in 1895, the year he gained his Matriculation. When he took leave to join the AIF in February 1916, he was working at the Armadale Woodwork Centre.
His teaching life included work with the cadets. He'd been 9 years in the Reserve of Officers of the Commonwealth Cadets and also served 6 years as a Lieutenant in the Junior Cadets and 3 years as an Adjutant in the Junior Cadets. This experience, his training as a teacher and his age were probably the reasons he was based at Royal Park until July 1916 when he sailed for England on board HMAT A32 Themistocles. From there he was sent to the 6th Training Battalion at Larkhill in England where he remained until he returned to Australia with defective vision in June 1918.
He was discharged from the AIF in Melbourne on 1 August 1918 and at the end of the month resumed duty as a teacher at his old school. He remained at Armadale for a number of years, but his final appointment was in his home suburb of Coburg. In 1934 he began work at 484 Bell Street, Coburg and retired from there in June 1938.
The Cook family lived in Coburg during the 1920s but moved to Camberwell North (later known as Deepdene) in the 1930s. John Cook died in 1963 aged 90.
If you'd like to know more about the school cadet program in Australia and New Zealand, you should read Max Waugh's book Soldier Boys, published by Melbourne Publishing in 2014.
And if you'd like to know more about Victorian State Schools and World War One, read Rosalie Triolo's book Our Schools and the War, published by Australian Scholarly Publishing in 2012.