Joseph Crook was the son of Edward and Elizabeth Crook of Dudley. He enlisted in the Royal Navy before 1914 and was serving as Painter Second Class on HMS Good Hope at the outbreak of war. It was part of the West Indies Squadron which set off from the Falkland Islands in pursuit of the German East Asiatic Squadron. This force had destroyed a large number of merchant ships in the Pacific during the opening months of the war and the British force under Admiral Sir Christopher Cradock was ordered to hunt for them. It was composed of two armoured cruisers, Good Hope and Monmouth, with a light cruiser, Glasgow, and a converted liner, Otranto. They were no match for the German squadron commanded by Admiral Graf Spee with its modern cruisers, Scharnhorst and Gneisnau, and other vessels. They met off Cape Coronel, Chile, on the 31st October and by the next day the two British cruisers had been sunk with all hands. Painter Joseph Crook was 26 years of age and is commemorated on the Portsmouth and Dudley Memorials.
Town Hall, Priory Street, Dudley
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