Despite sharing the same surname, the following two casualties were not related. Donald came from Shropshire and lived in Hoylake and Frederick came from West Kirby.
Donald George Reginald Cooper
Don Cooper came from Shropshire. In 1911, he was living in a seven-roomed shop and house at 18 Market Street, Hoylake where he was employed by his second cousin, William Henry Davies as an apprentice tailor. William had been born in Whitchurch, Shropshire in about 1880 and was married to May, who was born in Llanrwst in about 1878. The couple had been married for eight years. Other members of the household were William’s seven year-old daughter, Annie Olwen, who had been born in Hoylake and Mary Davies, William’s niece, who had been born in Deganwy in about 1890.
Don must have joined the army at the very beginning of the war, as the Deeside Advertiser, at the time of his death in August 1918, claimed that he had been serving for four years. At some point, he was transferred from the Royal Welsh Fusiliers to 1st/4th Cheshire Regiment – Wirral’s main territorial battalion, which went on to serve in the Dardanelles in August 1915.
By September 1915, Don had been wounded three times and was recuperating in a naval hospital in Malta having latterly been shot in the hip. He went on to serve in Egypt and Palestine.
The 1st/4th Cheshires moved to France on 31st May 1918 and were attached to 102nd Brigade, 34th Division on 1st July 1918. It then became involved in the allied counter-attacks against the Germans in France. The 1st/4th Cheshires fought several costly actions during July and August in the Soissonais-Ourcq area, just north of the River Marne. It is likely that Don was wounded in one of these actions and that he died in hospital of his wounds. The Deeside Advertiser claimed that he had shot by a machine gun. The 1st/4th Cheshires also lost their commanding officer, Colonel G.H. Swindells, who had commanded them since October 1914, during the same period.
Birth: c.1894 in Rockwood, Newport, Shropshire
Death: 17th August 1918, died of wounds, aged 24
Address: 18 Market Street, Hoylake (11)
Occupation: Tailor’s Apprentice (11)
Unit: Royal Welsh Fusiliers, 1st/4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Numbers and Rank: 577 and 200123, Sergeant
Medals: 15 Star, Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H, France: Rouen St. Sever Cemetery Extension QIV.K12
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, MC, DA, Census:11
Frederick Hylton Cooper
Frederick was born in West Kirby in about 1896. His parents were Frederick Tobias Cooper (born in New Brighton in about 1867) and Mary Jane Smith Bream (born in Somerset in about 1867). The couple were married in about 1895 and had two children. Frederick was the eldest; his brother, Lincoln Redvers, was born in about 1900 in West Kirby. There is no known relationship between this family and the other Coopers, whose biographies appear above and in previous posts. Frederick’s grandfather was called Tobias Cooper and had been born in Armagh, Ireland in 1867.
Frederick junior was employed and trained by his father as a jeweller and silversmith and seems to have joined the 1st/4th Cheshires – Wirral’s main territorial battalion – as a drummer boy in 1914. However, his service records say that he attested on 6th May 1915, when he was recorded as being 19 years of age, as being 5’ 8½” tall and as having a 35” chest with a 4” expansion. His physical development was described as “good” and his vision “very good with glasses”.
On 4th August 1917, he was transferred to the Glamorgan Yeomanry. Frederick embarked for France on 10th October 1917 and joined the 1st Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 17th October, but was soon suffering from “trench feet”, a horrible and debilitating condition caused by prolonged submersion of the feet in flooded trenches. His condition was so bad that he had to be sent back to Britain for treatment on 12th November . On 6th February 1918, he was at the Western Command Depot at Heaton Park – a massive military convalescent centre in Manchester with spaces for 100 officers and 5000 men.
On 2nd August 1918 Frederick was posted to the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Royal Welsh Fusiliers – a unit for new recruits and soldiers who were unfit for front line duties. On 17th September 1918 he was posted to 14th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers. He died three weeks later on 8th October, just over a month before the end of the war. Frederick’s unit was part of the 38th Welsh Division, which at the time of his death was engaged in the attacks on the Hindenburg Line. Further research in regimental archives will have to be carried out in order to determine the exact circumstances of his death.
At some point after his death, Frederick’s parents received a parcel containing his few meagre possessions – spectacles, “a gas record” and a ticket and during 1920 and 21, his parents corresponded with the war office about his medals and commemorative plaque, demonstrating just how important these items were in helping to assuage the sufferings of bereaved loved ones.
Birth: June 1896 in West Kirby
Death: 8th October 1918, killed in action, aged 22
Address: 11a Grange Road, West Kirby (11)
Occupation: Silversmith and Jeweller (14)
Units: 1st/4th Battalion Cheshire Regiment, Glamorgan Yeomanry and 3rd and 14th Battalions Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Numbers and Rank: 3591, 201227 and 20515, Private
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: GH, WK, France: Bois Des Anglais British Cemetery Crevecour Sur L’Escaut II.B.12.
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, MC, DA, SR, Census: 01, 11