Cook, Frederick Albert

Cook, Frederick Albert

Cook, Frederick Albert, 1865-1940, American explorer and physician, b. Sullivan co., N.Y. Cook early became interested in the arctic and accompanied the expedition of Robert E. Peary in 1891-92 as surgeon. Later he accompanied the Belgian expedition (1897-99) to Antarctica and made other polar voyages. In 1906, after unsuccessful attempts to reach the summit of Mt. McKinley, Cook remained behind when most of the party returned. He later announced that he and a companion had successfully scaled the peak; this assertion was afterward proved to be fraudulent. In 1907 he set out with an expedition for the arctic, and on Sept. 1, 1909, he emerged into civilization again, claiming that he had reached the North Pole in Apr., 1908. A few days later Peary announced that he had reached the pole in Apr., 1909, and accused Cook of fraud. The argument was sensational. Cook was deprived of some of the honors that had been accorded him and disappeared from the public eye for a time. Later he was involved in an oil-field promotion scheme in Texas and served five years (1925-30) of a 14-year sentence for having used the mails to defraud. To the end of his life, however, and in the face of a generally hostile public, Cook fought for vindication of his polar and Mt. McKinley claims and even filed several libel suits. He was supported by some well-known explorers as well as some ardent admirers. Cook defended his claims in My Attainment of the Pole (1911) and Return from the Pole (ed. by F. J. Pohl, 1951).

See T. Wright, The Big Nail (1970); H. Eames, Winner Lose All (1973); R. M. Bryce Cook and Peary: The Polar Controversy Resolved (1997).

Frederick Albert Tilston, VC (June 11, 1906 - September 23, 1992) was a Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

Early life

Tilston attended De La Salle College "Oaklands", an all-boys military prep school in Toronto, Ontario.

Military service

Tilston served in The Essex Scottish Regiment in an administrative role. By early 1945, he held the rank of acting Major. During the Battle of the Rhineland, he volunteered to go forward and lead an infantry company in an attack on the Hochwald.

On 1 March 1945, near Uedem, Germany, he led "C" Company in a 500 yard attack through barbed wire and enemy automatic weapons fire. He personally destroyed an enemy machine gun, and though wounded several times, refused to be evacuated while he organized his men for defence against German counter-attacks. Six times he made trips to a neighbouring company to get more ammunition and grenades for his men and was hit in his unwounded leg on his last trip.

In 1945 Tilson who joined The War Amps Association (a non-profit organization of "amputees helping amputees" (War Amps) in 1945. He also returned to his former place of business as vice-president in charge of sales.

Further information

Grave/memorial at Buried at Mount Hope Cemetery, Erskine Avenue, Toronto, Canada. R.C. Section. Plot 23 - NW Corner. Headstone.


Tiltson's Victoria Cross is currently held by the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto.


Even into retirement Tilston was active throughout York County where a number of honours and memorials bear his name:

  • The Aurora Canadian Legion Branch 385 is named Colonel Fred Tilston VC Legion in his honour.
  • The Cenotaph in Sharon, Ontario was unveiled by Tilston and bears his name.
  • St. Andrew's College (Aurora, Ontario) gives out Tilston Awards each year, one in every grade, to students who have "shown courage in the face of adversity".
  • The De La Salle Cadet Corps (De La Salle Cadet Corps website) at De La Salle College 'Oaklands' in Toronto, Ontario has named its primary body of cadets the 'Tilston Platoon'.

A joint training facility for the Essex Kent Scottish Regiment and the Windsor Police Service at 4007 Sandwich Street, Windsor, Ontario, is a first-of-its-kind in Canada partnership with the federal government Department of National Defense (DND). In recognition of his service to the Essex Kent Scottish Regiment, the training centre is named the Major F Tilston Armoury and Police Training Centre.


At the Toronto Scottish Regiment Armoury in Toronto, Canada.

External links

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