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First World War soldier finally laid to rest in Ypres service


Generations of family members have held a poignant funeral service for an English soldier who died more than 100 years ago.  

Lance Corporal Robert Cook has finally been laid to rest after being killed in action during the First World War.

He died two days after arriving to the front line near Ypres on the Western Front, in West Flanders, Belgium, on May 2, 1915. 

This week, the soldier, who was just 38 when he died, was buried at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission's (CWGC) New Irish Farm Cemetery near Ypres after being identified by the Ministry of Defence's Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre.

His great-nephew Arthur Cook and great-niece Sally Cooper attended the emotional service - which saw the soldier receive full military honours and a gun salute.

Born in 1876, in Bishop Wilton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, L/Cpl Cook was one of seven children and served with 2nd Battalion The Essex Regiment.   

He had served in the Boer War before arriving on the front line near Ypres on April 30 1915.

Two days later, at 5pm on May 2, L/Cpl Cook and his comrades were hit with gas, shelled and then attacked. 

By the end of the day 23 people had been killed, 72 were wounded and 175 were missing. 

Also in attendance at the ceremony were members of C Essex Company of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment - the modern equivalent of L/Cpl Cook's regiment.

Draped in a Union flag, L/Cpl Cook's coffin was carried to its final resting place by soldiers in full military dress.