COOPER, John William

No.13900, Private, John William COOPER
Aged 32

7th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Thursday, 9th August 1917

John William Cooper was born in 1885 in Swaffham Bulbeck (Newmarket Q1-1885 3B:579), son of John W and Elizabeth COOPER (née WILSON ).

1891 census...Aged 6, he was at Stetchworth Ley Cottages with his grandfather George COOPER [49] a shepherd, born Suffolk, and his grandmother Hanna [52] born in Alderton, (nr Woodbridge). His father John William COOPER [25] agricultural labourer, born Ipswich, mother Elizabeth Ann [24] born Dullingham and brother George Frederick [4] born Dullingham, were at Three Ashes, Rede.

1901 census...Aged 16, an apprentice blacksmith, he was at High Street, Stetchworth with his father John W. COOPER [34] a farm worker born Alderton; his mother Elizabeth [33] born in Dullingham; brothers George F.[14] farm worker, born Swaffham, Arthur H. [6] born Rede, Suffolk and Albert E [3] born in West Wratting.

1911 census...Aged 26, a farm labourer, he was at 9 London Road, Newmarket with his parents and brothers Arthur Henry and Albert Edward, both farm labourers,

His younger brother George Frederick COOPER (serving as WEBB) was killed in Greece in May 1917 see here

He enlisted in Newmarket.
The 7th Suffolks had spent most of the summer around Arras, mainly near Monchy, with plenty of raiding parties. After some intensive training with dummy trenches set up with the help of aerial reconnaissance, 35th Brigade sent out a raid on 9th August with 300 men of the 7th Suffolks.
As soon as it was light the artillery began a bombardment of enemy trenches 2,000 yards long and 300 yards deep. The barrage was kept up all day, the troops being held back in caves in our lines. At 7.45 pm strong patrols accompanied by demolition parties of the Royal Engineers moved forward under a creeping barrage, heading for Bois du Vert and The Mound. Prisoners were being taken and when they reached the first German line a box barrage was laid on and the second line raided. The whole operation was a success, albeit with heavy casualties. They brought back 69 prisoners and two machine guns

The battalion suffered 39 killed, of which 29 have no identified grave and are named on the Arras Memorial at Faubourg d'Amiens Cemetery.

photo: Rodney Gibson

John Cooper is commemorated on the Arras Memorial, France - bay 4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details