Finding Family

One woman's obsession with family history.

In all my excitement at finding something new, I tend to read too fast.  This means that although I may still be reading something, my ability to absorb the information is almost non existent.  That’s probably why I missed the name of the second soldier written on the back of the following photo.

My Great Grandfather: Ernest Holt Flynn (left) with his friend, Daniel Cocking.

Despite the fact that I read too fast, I also tend to re-read things.  I guess it all balances out in the end – thank goodness!  Written on the back was a letter to Ernest’s Mum, Elizabeth and in the top left hand corner, the name of the other soldier, Dan Cocking.

Letter to Mum

This is the transcription:

Other chap my pal Dan Cocking from Cue. The only Cue chaps in camp.

Mena Via
Jan 31st 1915

Dear Mum

Have not heard from you this week but got a couple of late strays from others.  Second mob have landed and they are shifting us to the canal by degrees.  N2. Inf. have gone.  We shall be going in a few days to make room for the others.  They are very tough mob & I suppose they will spoil our rep in Cairo.  I have written every Sunday now since I have been here.  Have had only two to three letters from you.  This is all for the present.


Upon first noticing the name, my instinct was to track down the details of the soldier.  The only problem was that initially I couldn’t quite tell what the surname was.  I headed to the Mapping our Anzacs website.  My first guess, Cooking, was completely wrong.  My second guess, Cushing, yielded some results but none of which matched.

I eventually made my way over to the AIF Project website where I could search for soldiers using their first name only.  I entered the name Daniel and typed in Cue in the address field.  Only one result popped up, Daniel Cocking.  I clicked on the name, then searched for my Great Grandfather’s details for comparison.  As it turned out, they were both in the same Unit and had both left Fremantle on the same ship.  I was convinced, this had to be the man in the photo!

After thoroughly convincing myself, I took on my next mission, track down relatives!  Sadly, Daniel Cocking was one of many who were killed in action during WWI.  He was unmarried and probably had no children.  Instead, I searched through the family trees on Ancestry.  I found several people with Daniel on their family tree and decided to send a message to the first one on the list.

Initially surprised by my random email, Daniel’s distant relative loves the photo and can even see a resemblance to her Grandfather!  It wasn’t a huge thing to do but still, I know I wouldn’t have felt happy until Daniel Cocking’s photo had a place within his own family tree.  After making the ultimate sacrifice for us, he deserves nothing less.

One thought on “Reuniting a Soldier with his Family

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