Cerro Gordo County

Lt. William B. Cookman





Sgt. William Cookman cabled Easter greeting to his wife, 902 Sixth street southwest, from London, England. This was the first word from him since he left the United States with the second contingent of the AEF to Ireland. He has been in the national guard six years and was called to active service in February of 1941. He was stationed at Camp Claiborne, La., and left there for Fort Dix in January.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, April 06, 1942, Page 8


James L. Cookman, gunner’s mate 2/c, arrived in England following 15 months service in the Mediterranean area, according to word received by Mrs. Cookman, 841 4th S. W. Mate Cookman’s 2 brothers in the service are also in England and the 3 met after 3 years apart. Sgt. Dan Cookman is in the air corps and Lt. William Cookman in the army there. They are the sons of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cookman, 902 6th S. E.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, May 31, 1944, Page 3


Word has been received by Mrs. William Cookman that her husband, First Lt. William Cookman, has been returned to active duty with his company after being wounded July 20 in France. His promotion to first lieutenancy was a battlefield promotion. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. L. W. Cookman, 902 6th S. E.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Tuesday, August 29, 1944, Page 5

Is Awarded Silver Star
Upon Return to Action

Lt. William Cookman Twice Wounded,
Now in Action in Germany

A letter received here from First Lt. William Cookman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cookman, 902 6th S. W., states that upon returning to action with his company after having been wounded in action in France, he found he had been awarded the silver star for gallantry in action.

According to word received from his Tuesday, Lt. Cookman is now in Germany. This is the second time he has been returned to his company following recovery from wounds received in action.

Lt. Cookman first went overseas with the 2nd contingent of the AEF and after being returned to the states for officer’s training, received his commission and went overseas again.

He has 2 brothers in the service, Staff Sgt. Dan Cookman, in England, and James Cookman, gunner’s mate 2/c, now home on leave after 19 months overseas.

The lieutenant’s wife is a registered nurse, now at the Cedar Valley hospital in Charles City.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Friday, October 06, 1944, Page 12 (photo included)


Lt. Riveal and S. Sgt. Cookman Interviewed

Mason City Lions club members got a flyer’s-eye-view of the activities of the British and American air forces in Europ at their luncheon meeting Wednesday.

First Lt. Laakon Rivedal and S/Sgt. Dan Cookman, veterans of bombing missions from Norway to France, were guests of the club. Both flyers answered questions about their experiences, asked by various members of the group.

Sgt. Cookman, a tail gunner on a B-17 with a presidential citation, the purple heart and 32 missions to his credit, told the Lions that a tail gunner “mostly sits back there and prays” while his plane is over the target. His job started when enemy fighters attacked the big bomber, he said.

On D-Day, Sgt. Cookman said, his group flew 2 bombing missions to the Normandy beachhead. “I know my 2 brothers (First Lt. William Cookman and GM 2/C Jim Cookman) were fighting below me, and I was plenty worried about them.”

Asked if he thought he was in a better spot than his brothers, Sgt. Cookman said, “Sure – I was a lot safer!” Jim Cookman has recently been home on leave after 19 months overseas. Bill Cookman, at last reports, was in Germany with an infantry unit.

All 9 members of his bomber’s crew came through their quota of missions safely, Sgt. Cookman said, although he and the bombardier both were wounded by flak during a raid.

Lt. Rivedal, who joined the Royal Canadian air force in 1940 and completed 28 missions over Europe before transferring to the United States air force, is home on leave from Laredo, Texas, where he is now a gunnery instructor. He was overseas 3 ½ years.

Lt. Rivedal praised the spirit and courage of the people of Britain, who are in their 5th year of war, not very well fed, and living under the constant strain of the stiffest blackout regulations in Europe.

“Britain is a very poor nation,” the Norwegian-born Mason Cityan said. “It has only 1 major industry – coal mining – and must depend on its empire for sustenance.”

Guests at the meeting included John Peters of Des Moines, guest of C. W. Cowan; R. F. Clough, guest of W. A. Westfall; Luverne Hansen, guest of the Rev. A. N. Rogness, and A. V. O’Brien, guest of G. E. Mendon.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Thursday, November 02, 1944, Page 8

Lt. Cookman Died of Wounds
Received in Action, Germany

Was Serving Second Time Overseas;
Twice Wounded Previously

First Lt. William Cookman, son of Mr. and Mrs. Leslie W. Cookman, 902 6th S. W., died on Oct. 16 of wounds received in action in Germany the day before, according to a telegram received here Tuesday. His wife, a registered nurse, has been employed at the Cedar Valley hospital, Charles City.

Lt. Cookman, serving his 2nd time overseas, had been returned to action after having been twice wounded in France. He held the silver star for gallantry in action.

Lt. Cookman first went overseas in 1942, having left Mason City with the national guard in 1941. After 9 months overseas he was returned to the states for officer’s training, upon completion of which he was commissioned a 2nd lieutenant and again sent overseas, last December. His promotion to first lieutenant, a battlefield promotion, occurred recently in France.

While in England before going to France, he had met his brother, Dan, now back in the states, but had been missed by a day in France his other brother in the service, Jim, who had called at a hospital there to find that William had been dismissed.

Besides his parents and 2 brothers, Lt. Cookman leaves 2 sisters, Mrs. Kenneth Johnson, Norfolk, Va., and Elizabeth Ann at home.

Source: The Globe-Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Wednesday, November 08, 1944, Page 13