Captain Leslie A. Crook MC – 6th May 1891 – 25th September 1917 –
So many have fallen … So many were lost and never found … Reality is hard for the numerous families that are left with unanswered questions of what happened to their ‘boys’. But now, a century later, thanks to the unremitting efforts of enthusiast historical researchers and organisations like the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the identification process continues. As a historian, exploring the archives is a passion to me, as well as a commitment. And sometimes that dedication pays off.
Yesterday, I had the privilege to take Pauline and Pete to the places where exactly 100 years ago her great uncle cpt. Leslie Arthur Crook fell on the battlefield. He was only 26 years old. His body was never to be found, but his name will shine for all eternity on the Memorial to the Missing of Tyne Cot Cemetery in Passchendaele. Obviously , finding his name on the plaque was an emotional moment for all of us.
Cpt. Crook served in The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) and was previously wounded three times before that fatal strike. In his personal diary, that was returned by his comrades to the family, he wrote his experiences at the Western Front down and he drew maps of the locations where he had lost many of his friends. Right now, I’m privileged to decipher his notes, trying to reconstruct his itinerary. But even though we still don’t know exactly where he fell, the date he passed away gives away an important clue : the battle of Polygon Wood. A landmark in history …