Reginald Charles Cooper

Private 14156, 1st Bn, Norfolk Regiment
Died 5th July 1916, aged 20
Remembered at Blakeney (St. Nicholas) Churchyard
and on both Blakeney War Memorials

Reginald Cooper was born in Cromer and baptised there, 5th April, 1896.  He was the son of Charles Thomas Cooper, a bricklayer, and his wife Marian Louisa Brooks.  By 1901 the family were living in Runton and Reginald’s siblings were an older sister, Norah Blanche Cooper and a younger brother Charles Thomas Cooper, both born in Cromer.

The 1911 Census records the family living in the High Street, Blakeney, on the east side of the Street, close to if not actually in Anchor Yard.  Furthermore his parents had been married 18 years and had had four children with three still living.  Reginald, aged 15, was living at home, and working as an Errand boy to a farmer, probably George Hudson.

There are no Service Records available, only brief CWGC details.  Reginald enlisted at Norwich, Norfolk.  Whereas the 1st Battalion served with the 15th Brigade in Belgium, France and Italy, Reginald appears never to have been sent abroad.  His Theatre of War is given as “Home”.

His Funeral Notice in the local paper (not identified) records that;  “The funeral of Private Reginald Cooper of the Norfolk Regiment, who died at Epsom, after a few days of illness, took place from his parents’ house with military honours on Monday afternoon.  The body, in an elm coffin draped with the Union Jack, and covered with choice wreaths, was borne on a hand bier, and preceded by the firing party with arms reversed.  It was received by buglers, under the Colonel Tait, with the salute, and followed by a company of soldiers, under the command of Lieut-Colonel (temporary Captain) Monck Mason.  The immediate mourners were the parents, sister and other relatives.  A number of parishioners were present.  The houses on the route of the procession were shaded, and much sympathy shown to a lad who was much respected.  The funeral party entered the church to the strains of Beethoven’s ‘Funeral March’ and the service was choral.  Deceased was an old member of the choir, who were present and joined the procession, which was headed by a cross bearer Scoutmaster Baugh, of the Sea Scouts, deceased being one of the local troop of Baden-Powell Boy Scouts.  In the cortège were also naval men, and a detachment of Sea Scouts.  A hymn was sung inside the church, and Psalm XXXIX chanted.  The rector (Rev R Gordon Roe) gave a short address.  As the service in church terminated the organist (Mr J W Bolton Aston) rendered the ‘Dead March’ in ‘Saul’.  At the graveside the hymn ‘Peace, perfect peace’ followed the committal.  After the Benediction the firing party advanced and fired three volleys.  This was followed by the sounding of the ‘Last Post’ by the buglers.”

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have marked his burial site in Blakeney Churchyard with a dedicated WW1 headstone.  It is located on the north side of the church yard, in the eastern section.