John Cooke (Royal Navy Officer)

John Cooke (Royal Navy Officer)

John Cooke (c.1762 – 21 October 1805) was an experienced and highly regarded officer of the Royal Navy during the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary Wars and the first years of the Napoleonic Wars. Cooke is best known for his death in hand-to-hand combat with French forces during the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. During the action, his ship HMS Bellerophon was badly damaged and boarded by sailors and marines from the French ship of the line Aigle. Cooke was killed in the ensuing melee, but his crew successfully drove off their opponents and ultimately forced the surrender of Aigle.

Aside from his death, remarkably little is known of Cooke's circumstances. Even his date of birth is unclear, and unlike many of his fellow officers, Cooke was never a notable society figure. He was however well respected in his profession and following his death was the subject of tributes from officers who had served alongside him. Memorials to him were placed in St Paul's Cathedral and his local church in Wiltshire.

Read more about John Cooke (Royal Navy Officer):  Early Life, Frigate Command, Trafalgar, Family and Legacy

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John Cooke (Royal Navy Officer) - Family and Legacy
... Cooke's death, as with those of George Duff and Admiral Nelson himself, was widely mourned in Britain ... Cooke's widow Louisa and their eight-year old daughter were given numerous awards and presents, including the gold medal minted for the captains who had fought at the action, and a large silver vase presented by Lloyd's Patriotic Fund ...

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