Frank Cooper

Gunner, Royal Field Artillery

Example of an RFA cap badge. | Photodetective.co.uk
Example of an RFA cap badge.
Photodetective.co.uk

Frank Cooper is one of the men named on the Bottesford ‘church list’ of WW1 Servicemen.

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Frank Cooper was born in Bottesford in 1881, was one of the children of a farm worker named John Cooper, born in 1834 in Bottesford, and Sarah (nee Read), who was born in 1839.

In 1881, the Coopers lived at the western end of the village, on Toll Bar Lane, close to where The Nook (now Pinfold Lane) where Orston Lane (now Bowbridge Lane). Here there were seven children: Robert (aged 14), William (aged 12), Amy (aged 11), Elizabeth (aged 10), Thomas (aged 8), James (1 year old) and Frank (4 months old).

In the 1891 census, they lived on Bridge Lane, adjoining Nottingham Road (probably what was also called Orston Lane and is now called Bowbridge Lane). Thomas, Amy and Elizabeth have left the family home, but there was another son named George, aged 8. John Cooper was still an agricultural worker, William was described as a general labourer, James, Frank (now 10) and George were still at school.

John Cooper died in 1899, but Sarah lived until 1918. In the 1901 census, Sarah Cooper, now 62, lived on The Nook, with son William (aged 32, a gardener’s labourer) and daughter Lizzie (aged 30). Frank Cooper, however, was not recorded in Bottesford, and may well have been in London by this date. In 1911, he certainly was in London, employed as a waiter in the Naval and Military Club, 94 Piccadilly London W1. He was aged 30.

Service record

There is very little information to report about Frank Cooper’s military service. No attestation papers, medal index card or other record has been found. What we can say is that on the 20th October, 1917, the Grantham Journal had a short report which said that Gunner F. Cooper, RFA, of Bottesford had been wounded, with a gunshot wound to his left arm, and was in hospital at Newcastle (probably Newcastle-upon-Tyne), where he was said to have been in “good spirits” and “doing nicely”. There was no further detail.

After the end of the war

No information about Frank Cooper’s life or whereabouts after the end of the war has been discovered, but it is most probable that he did survive. There is a record of a man called Frank Cooper who married a woman named Elsie Hartley at Scunthorpe in 1948 and died also at Scunthorpe in 1962, but no guarantee that he was the man who came from Bottesford (his Death Certificate might well resolve this question).

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