D.S.M. London Gazette 11.11.1919.
Leading Stoker Herbert Cooke, D.S.M., was one of 11 Ratings and three Officers who volunteered to take the Steamer Julnar up the Tigris in an effort to get supplies to the British forces besieged in Kut. All had to be unmarried given the perilous nature of the mission. Major E.W.C. Sandes, D.S.O., O.B.E., one of those eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Julnar at Kut, takes up the story:
'It appears that the ship [the Julnar] started at 8 p.m. from Falahiyeh, where the Relief Force Flotilla was moored, and in half an hour had been discovered by the Turks by the aid of star shell. She ran through a hellish rifle fire from both banks in the Es-Sin position, and safely crossed the steel cable of a flying-bridge in that position. It is said that the cable broke. About 15 minutes before reaching Fort Magasis, however, the ship was shelled at point-blank range by Turkish field-guns brought down to the water's edge. A shell hit the bridge and killed Lieutenant Firman, R.N., and others raked the ship, while bullets riddled the hull. At length, opposite Magasis, the Julnar fouled another steel cable and was held up by it. The gallant crew then surrendered. The survivors, including five wounded, were removed to the shore, and later were taken up country, but Commander Cowley disappeared. There is no doubt that he was secretly murdered by the Turks'.
The gallant conduct displayed by the men of the Julnar resulted in the award of the Victoria Cross to Commander Cowley, R.N.V.R., and to Lieutenant Firman, R.N.; one Distinguished Service Order; two Conspicuous Gallantry Medals and ten Distinguished Service Medals.