A very happy 100th Birthday to Welsh Guardsman Denys C Cook (2734306) who celebrates his centenary today 16th January 2020.
Denys lives in Canada and so, as a Regiment we are unable to celebrate with him, but our Colonel is aware and His Royal Highness has written to Denys.
Denys joined the Welsh Guards on 23rd August 1937, was promoted to Cpl (LSgt) in 1938 and sent to the British Army Physical training School followed immediately by the Small Arms School. He passed both instructor courses and subsequently taught both subjects within the 1st Battalion.
Whilst stationed in Gibraltar in May 1939 the then Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel FAV Copland-Griffiths MC appointed Denys as the Senior Life Guard on the Rock of Gibraltar. An extremely fit young man, Denys was a member of the Battalion Athletics team and Rugby team and received training in judo.
On 14th August 1939 Denys was promoted to sergeant and told that he would be returning to England to run conscript training in the Southern part of England. When he landed in England in November 1939 he reported to the Tower of London and was informed by Lieutenant Colonel G St VJ Vigor that his orders had been changed and he was to remain at the Tower of London and become a Platoon Sergeant in Number 4 Company of the newly formed 2nd Battalion Welsh Guards.
Denys was captured by the German Army and taken Prisoner of War on the 14th May 1940 in Boulogne. He was eventually held at Stalag 383 in Hohenfels, Bavaria and was released on the 13th May 1945. Denys kept diaries of his entire time in captivity and his story is available to read in his book "Missing in Action or My War as a Prisoner of War" which is available to purchase here.
Denys also had the foresight to record interviews of his experience as a Prisoner of War and has his own Youtube Channel (fittingly titled Stalag383POW) here. There are five interview videos in all, the first of which is:
Denys was discharged from the Welsh Guards on the 4th February 1946 and joined the Herefordshire Police just seven days later on 11th February. His full and varied life after the Welsh Guards included:
Working as a Police Sergeant and instructing thousands of young police constables at the Police Training College, Bridgend.
Playing rugby for Bridgend
Moving to Canada to live in June 1958
By 1963 Denys was President of Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE).
In 1965 he was promoted to Director of the Enforcement Division for the Attorney Generals Department.
He was President of Alberta Highway Safety Department.
Vice President of the Royal Life Saving Society, Alberta.
Vice President Canadian Red Cross Society, Water life Saving Northern Alberta.
District Scout Commissioner, Peace River District.
Vice President of the Canadian Art & Craft Society which he helped found.
He became a professional artist in 1972 and is a Scrapeboard Master. News of Denys can be found here and here.