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WW1 Casualty: Private 1429 Joseph Coop -

Private 1429 Joseph Coop

Unit/Regiment 1st/5th Bn., South Lancashire Regiment
Date of Death 20/05/1915 Age at Death 20
& Reference
Huyton (St Michael) Churchyard
CWGC Family Details (if shown) Son of Tom and Annie Coop, of 3, School Lane, Huyton Quarry
Census Details 1901 Census -

Tom (36, a Platelayers Labourer) and Annie Coop (31), lived at 4, Blythe Cottages, Huyton Quarry, with their children Esther (13), Elizabeth (11), Sarah (8), Joseph (6), Bertha (4) and Tom (2)

1911 Census -
The Coop family lived at 3 School Lane, Huyton Quarry. Tom (45) and Annie (42) had been married for 23 years and with them were children Sarah Ann (19, a Domestic), Joseph (16, a Mechanic’s Labourer at the Wire Works), Bertha (14, a Wire Bender at an Electric Lamp Works), Tom (12) and Annie (9).
Birth/Marriage/Death Registrations Birth registered Q4/1894, Prescot, Vol 8b, Page 648
SDGW – Where Born Prescot, Lancs
Enlisted Prescot
How Died Died of Wounds Theatre of War Home
Research Ref. No. P056

Service Details

Joseph Coop is buried in a private grave at St Michaels, Huyton. The inscription reads:-

'Annie, wife of Thomas COOP, d. July 6th, 1913, aged 45. Joseph, son of the above, 5th. S L Regt., died of wounds received in action, May 20th 1915, aged 20. Also the above Thomas COOP'.

He must have been wounded in action and ultimately returned to England for treatment before succumbing to his wounds. His family will have elected to have his body returned home for burial. Although it is not clear exactly where or when he was wounded, the following details the battalions key activities from formation through to the week before Joseph Coop's death, illustrating some of the fighting in which he would have been involved.

The 5th Battalion, South Lancashire Regiment, had just started its annual training in camp when war broke out in August 1914. It was sent to Edinburgh until October, then moved to Tunbridge Wells until February 1915. It was then ordered to France, sailing on the 13th aboard s.s. King Edward., arriving at Le Havre the same day.

Over the next few days the battalion marched to billets at Le Bizet, and then undertook instruction in trench warfare. The system was for companies from a battalion to be attached to other battalions for spells in the line, before the sector was allocated to the battalion on its own. In addition to the trench duty, the battalion undertook its share of pioneer work and training in rapid fire.

The Battalion was moved around regularly without seeing action, until 28th April when it was moved to Vlamertinghe, Belgium in readiness to take part in the 1st Battle of Ypres, which had started on the 22nd.

On 2nd May, the Germans launched a violent attack, accompanied by a cloud of chlorine gas, and the battalion was moved into the line for the first time. On 3rd May, it was moved to the new line in front of Wieltje, and then on the 4th it was again moved to Shell Trap Farm. At dawn, they engaged the Germans but by 4pm the enemy was within 400 yards of the British lines, from where they began a heavy bombardment of the British lines.

More shell fire continued through the next day, culminating in heavy concentrated fire about 5 p.m. which resulted in a considerable number of men being buried, many of them killed and wounded. The enemy fire continued until midnight and four attempts were made by the Germans to take the farm, but all were repulsed.

At 2 a.m. on the 6th, the Battalion was relieved and moved to La Brique, having incurred considerable casualties.

On the 8th May, the battalion was once more sent up to the Wieltje sector as it was thought that the enemy had broken through, but it proved to be a false alarm and on the 9th it returned to La Brique, leaving 'C' Company and a machine-gun detachment at Wieltje. Early on the 10th, the battalion moved to the bank of the Yser canal where it remained until the 13th, when it was moved back to the support lines.

A list of Prescot men reported as "Died of Wounds" which appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post on 31st May 1915

Below are two pictures of Joseph Coop's gravestone in Huyton, one of which shows the number of broken stones in the churchyard.

Joseph Coop's Medal Index Card with his name mis-spelt as Cooper

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