Gunner Arthur James Cooper

Arthur James Cooper ©
James Cooper ©
© Royston Williamson 2015
Photograph courtesy of Royston Williamson

Thank you to Patricia Brazier for the following research.

Arthur was born on 26th April 1887 and baptised Arthur James Victor Cooper on 10th July 1887 at the parish Church of Dorking. His parents are Charles, a stonemason, and Margaret. Their address is 133 St Martins Place, Dorking.

In the 1891 census the family are living at 8 North Street, Dorking. James has an older brother Charles, born in Woolwich. His father Charles is 40 and was born in Dorking. Charles is still a stonemason. His mother is 30 and was born in India.

In the 1901 census, the family have moved again, this time to 11 Jubilee Terrace. James now has a sister Lillian aged 6 and a brother Reginald aged 5, both born in Dorking.

On 11th October 1907, James joined the Navy where he served on various ships, the last one being HMS Vernon from June until November 1914. In the 1911 census he is listed as Cooks Mate in the Parish of Portsea, St. John. His parents are still living in Dorking, now at 20 St. Martin’s Place.

On the 18th December 1913 he married Hilda Mary Edwards at Reigate Register Office. His rank is First Class Petty Officer. He gave his address as 20 St. Martins Place. Hilda lived at 3 Market Row, Redhill. Hilda’s late father, Samuel, worked as an ostler.

On the 11th August 1914 the Police Gazette shows Arthur J. Cooper, born in Dorking, as a deserter from HMS Vernon. It gives a brief description of him. He has brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.


We record with regret the death at the Front of Gunner Arthur James Cooper, R. F. A., who leaves a wife, who lives in Market Row, Redhill, and two children. The gallant soldier, who was servant to Capt. Franklyn, died on October 6th as the result of injuries sustained by the explosion of a five-inch shell which burst five yards in front of the officers’ mess. Cooper, who was a native of Dorking, leaves an aged mother and father, who still reside in that town. He had been in the Army some eighteen months, and in action since June 26th with only ten days rest. Mrs. Cooper, has received a letter from Captain Franklyn speaking very highly of her husband’s services. Much sympathy will be felt for her in her loss.

James Cooper Death Notice © Surrey Advertiser British Newspaper Archives

GUNNER A. J. COOPER, R. F. A. Killed

The death has occurred at the Front in action of Gunner Arthur J. Cooper, second son of Mrs. Cooper, and the late Mr. C. Cooper, of St. Martin’s Place, Dorking. Gunner Cooper was acting as servant to Captain Franklyn, R. F. A, and was killed on October 6th by a shell which burst five yards in front of the Officer’s Mess. He had been in the Army 18 months, and in action since June 26th. He has two other brothers serving, one in East Africa, and the other with the Canadians in France.

James Cooper Death Notice © Dorking Advertiser

Arthur James Cooper died on 2nd October 1916 at the Somme as a result of injuries sustained from a shell explosion.

James received the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the 1915 Star. They were sent to his wife Hilda Mary. His wife also received £4 8s 9d in 1917 and £7 10s in 1919.

Arthur and Hilda had two children, Herbert A.S Cooper born in 1914 and Phyllis M.P. Cooper in 1916. His widow Hilda married Charles Brown in Reigate in 1918.

Arthur James had five siblings:

Lilian May: born 16 May 1894, baptised 11 July 1894, at the Parish church of Dorking.   She married, Arthur Henry Derriman on December 19th 1916. They had one daughter Margaret in 1917, Arthur died in 1920.

Charles P: born around 1883, Reginald Hue: born 27th March 1896, baptised at the Parish Church of Dorking on 3 June 1896. Florence Alice: born 4th November 1903, baptised 25th November 1903 at the Parish Church of Dorking and Phillip born in the September quarter of 1910.

In the 1939 Register, Arthur’s mother Margaret, his sisters, Lillian Derriman and Florence May, his brother Phillip and niece Margaret Joan are living in St. Martin’s Place Dorking.

Born Dorking
Lived Dorking
Son of Charles and Margaret Cooper
Husband of Hilda Mary Edwards
Father of Herbert (born 1914) and Phyllis (born 1916)
Regiment B Battery. 94th Brigade. Royal Field Artillery
Number 68311
Date of Death 2nd October 1916
Place of Death Somme, France
Cause of Death Died of wounds from a shell explosion
Age 30
Cemetery Thiepval Memorial, Somme
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