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australian rowers profiles and history

James Hook MM

Antwerp Rowing Club (VIC)

Hook was born at Armstrong via Ararat in Victoria. At the time of enlistment in July 1916, he was 29 1/2 years old and married to Susannah and living in Antwerp. 

By January 1917, he was in Europe. On 10th August 1918, he was promoted to Lance Corporal but in September came down with the flu. He recovered and went back into action.

On 12th October 1917, he was killed in action in Belgium. 

Posthumously on 27 July 1918, Hook was awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous bravery in the field. 

The following obituary was published in "Struth", a publication of the Horsham Historical Society.

"Lance Corporal James Hook MM [2082, 37th Infantry Battalion] was born in Ararat, lived at Antwerp and underwent his medical in Horsham with Dr Docker Read on April 10th 1016. He enlisted as a Commission Agent [wheat], aged 29, and married to Susannah. James embarked from Melbourne on September 25th 1916 abroad HMAT Shropshire and was in France by December 20th 1916. In September 1917 james was hospitalised with influenza but recovered and re-joined his unit on September 12th. James was awarded a Military Medal, his citation states:

"On the 4th October, east of Ypres, he displayed conspicuous gallantry in action. This NCO, single headedly rushed an enemy Machine Gun position, killing two of its crew with the bayonet and capturing the gun, Later he entered by himself a German dug-out and captured ten prisoners.

"Just eight days later, James was killed in action in Belgium on October 12th 1917. An account of his death states: I saw him killed outright by a shell at Passchendaele one morning in November [sic] last. He was in charge of a fatigue party at the time. Others were wounded by the same shell and I helped to take them away. I do not know exactly where Hook was buried but the ground where he fell remains in our possession.

"James has been buried in the Dorchy Farm New British Cemetery, Passchendaele."

Graham Drage
September 2021

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