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Hubert Cooper was born on 26 January 1897 in Bamber Bridge.  His father was Thomas Cooper (b. 1869 in Preston), a Prudential Insurance agent.  His mother was Mary Jane Ratcliffe (b. 1857 in Bamber Bridge).  The family seem to have moved around quite a bit between Rishton, Bamber Bridge and Burnley, before finally settling in Burnley about 1905.  Tom and Mary Jane were married in Bamber Bridge in 1877 and they had five children: Fred (b. 1878), Annie (b. 1879), Mildred (b. 1889), Edith (b. 1893) and finally Hubert.  In 1901, the family lived at 263 Station Road, which is probably where Hubert was born, but by 1911 they had moved to 19 Belgrave Street, Burnley.  Hubert was working as an assistant in a newsagent’s.


Hubert turned 18 in 1915 so probably enlisted then or early 1916.  He joined the East Lancashire Regiment and was assigned service number 3301, which was later changed to 241165.  He was posted to 1/5 Battalion.  1/5Bn served in Salonika in 1916 but were moved to the Western Front in early 1917 so that is likely when Hubert joined them.  They came under orders of 126th Brigade in 42nd (East Lancashire) Division.  At some point, Hubert was promoted to Lance Corporal.


On arrival in France and after being re-equipped for trench warfare in very different conditions to those the men had been accustomed to in Salonika, the Division entered the line at Épehy, as part of III Corps in Fourth Army. They remained in this area, soon moving to Havrincourt where they remained until 8 July. These positions faced the formidable German Hindenburg Line in front of Cambrai. Through the rest of July and August, the Division carried out rest and training, in the area of Albert (on the old Somme battlefield of 1916).  September 1917 saw a move north, to join the offensive at Ypres that had opened on 31 July.  This is officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, or more popularly, Passchendaele.  Although the battle opened well, it had soon become literally bogged down as Flanders endured the worst August weather for many years.  September, however, was very warm and dry.  His Battalion was located near Frezenberg, which had been captured by 55th Division in the early days of the Battle, but which was still fiercely contested.  At the beginning of September, the Battalion was in the line from Frezenberg to Westhoek and Bellewaerde.  The War Diary states that on 10 September 1917, 1/5Bn were in the trenches and were shelled with “shrapnel, gas shells etc.  Casualties - 8”.  Two men were killed, one of them was Hubert Cooper; he was 20 years old.


Rank:  Lance Corporal

Service Number: 241165

Date of Death:  10/09/1917

Age:  20

Regiment/Service:  East Lancashire Regiment, 1st/5th Bn. 
Cemetery/memorial reference: II. B. 10.


Additional Information:  Son of Thomas and Mary Jane Cooper, of 8 Victoria Terrace, Stoneyhorne, Burnley.

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