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John Cook
28 August 1843 – 18 December 1879
Victoria Cross Medal without Bar.png
Place of birth Edinburgh, Scotland
Place of death Sherpur, Afghanistan
Resting place Sherpur Cantonment Cemetery, Kabul
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch British Indian Army
Unit Bengal Staff Corps / 5th Gurkha Rifles
Battles/wars Second Anglo-Afghan War
Umbeyla Campaign
Awards Victoria Cross

Major John Cook VC (28 August 1843 – 18 December 1879) was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.



He was 35 years old, and a captain in the Bengal Staff Corps, British Indian Army, and 5th Gurkha Rifles during the Second Anglo-Afghan War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC:

For a signal act of valour at the action of the Peiwar Kotal on the 2nd December, 1878, in having, during a very heavy, fire, charged out of the entrenchments with such impetuosity that the enemy broke and fled, when, perceiving, at the close of the melee, the danger of Major Galbraith, Assistant Adjutant-General, Kurum

Column Field Force, who was in personal conflict with an Afghan soldier, Captain Cook distracted his attention to himself, and aiming a sword cut which the Douranee avoided, sprang upon him, and, grasping his throat, grappled with him. They both fell to the ground. The Douranee, a most powerful man, still endeavouring to use his rifle, seized Captain Cook's arm in his teeth until the struggle was ended by the man being shot through the head.[1]

He later achieved the rank of major and was killed in action at Sherpur, Afghanistan, on 19 December 1879.


  1. ^ London Gazette: no. 24697, p. 2241, 18 March 1879. Retrieved on 2009-05-29.


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