THE mother of Corporal Richard Cook, who has been Mentioned in Dispatches for his bravery, has spoken to the Wee Paper about her amazement at finding out about his actions, writes Adam Drummond.
Catherine Cook, of Kirk Wynd, told us: “To be honest, I never knew anything about it until the day before he was getting the award, and even then he wouldn’t tell me anything about it.
“I only found out about what he actually did when I read it online.”
The mother of four added: “Obviously, he has done his job well if he has been commended for it, but it was a bit of a shock to read about what he had done.
“I told him ‘don’t do it, don’t put yourself in the line of fire’ when he went away, but he has completely ignored me!
“But, he was on a mission, which is what they are there for, and he knew what he was doing and they all came home – that is the main thing.”
Catherine said that she and Richard’s father and three siblings were all ‘thrilled to bits’ to find out about the award.
She said that while Richard is on his tours of duty she sends parcels and enjoys hearing from him while he is out there, although he doesn’t often tell her much about what he has been doing.
She added that Richard was ‘just like anybody else’ in that he didn’t really want to talk about work at the end of the day.
“You have to try and remember he is just doing his job, like anybody else, and it was the career he chose,” Catherine said.
“Any mother worries about their children, it doesn’t matter whether they are in Afghanistan or Edinburgh,” she added.
Having joined the Army in 2006, Richard has now completed two tours of duty in Afghanistan, both for six months, and Catherine is looking forward to seeing Richard when he gets his next period of leave, having returned to Edinburgh.
Reflecting on her son’s achievement, Catherine said: “Of course I am proud of him, but I don’t tend to broadcast it. I just sent him a message to say he had disobeyed my orders, but well done and that I was very proud of him.
“He’s trained for it and that is just the type of lad he is, and he doesn’t go boasting about it.
“He just takes it on the chin and keeps his head down and gets on with it.”
Richard’s former headteacher and rugby coach George Jack told the Wee Paper: “As a pupil he was a kind of quiet and straight-forward lad.
“He was a rugby player and if he had stuck with it he might have done okay.
“I know he is thought of quite highly at the Selkirk club.”
Having come through the Youth Club ranks, Richard went on to play for the senior club, mainly for the second team or Stormers, and club president John Rutherford was full of praise for the 26-year-old.
“He is a tremendous young man and is a role model,” John told us.
“I think that if there was anyone born to be a soldier, then it was Richard.
“He is a very popular person and when he is at home on leave he turns up and plays for the club.”
John added: “When I read about the award I was obviously delighted, but not surprised.”