Thomas Victor Cooper.
enlisted into the HCB on the
31/10/1914 at Huntingdon, he was posted into the 2/1st Reserve Battalion
and allocated the HCB number of 879. At the time of his enlistment
he gave his address as 34
St Germain Street, Huntingdon and gave his parents as J. T. Cooper.
Thomas was later transferred into the Machine Gun Corps. with a new number of 43186.
He was promoted in the Huntingdonshire Reserve Battalion from Corporal to Sergeant December 1914. One reference indicates that he had a brother F. H. Cooper who also enrolled in the HCB. He visited his wounded brother in hospital Soughell Cheshire in December 1914. His name was added to the HCB Roll as it was within a block number of men that served in the M. G. C..
Some time before December 1917 he was noted as being Gassed and Burnt, and was in hospital in Brighton. The following was in a local newspaper dated 14/12/1917 - Pte. Tom Cooper, son of Mrs. Cooper, St. German Street, Huntingdon, was gassed and badly burnt in a recent engagement. He is in hospital in England.
|Local newspaper entries
indicate that by 18th December 1914 Private T. V. Cooper had been
promoted to the rank of Provisional Corporal at the time it was
indicated that he was serving as soldier number 879 in the 2/1st
Huntingdonshire Cyclist Battn.
|Another newspaper entry
Dec 11 1914 -
Drummer Captures German Trumpet.
Drummer F. Cooper, of the Bedfordshire Regiment, and son of Mrs. Cooper, of St. Germain Street, Huntingdon, is lying wounded at Vernon Hospital Songbell, Cheshire. He was shot in the right arm by a rifle bullet at Ypres. Although he lost his cherished bugle, he captured a fine trumpet belonging to the Prussian Guard, which he has brought back.
His brother, T. V. Cooper, who is acting Sergeant bugler to the Hunts. Cyclist Reserve Battalion, visited him a few days ago, and found the bullet had been extracted.
Drummer Cooper was involved in an action on Nov. 11 in a fierce bayonet charge on the Prussian Guard. The Bedfords had to leave their trenches to repel the attack and sustained 115 casualties that night, but next morning there were stated to be 700 dead Germans between the British Lines and the Germans’ first trench. He had been in other bayonet charges, and once, through a Regiment retiring from their trench, the Bedfords had to retake it at the point of the bayonet. So fierce had been the fighting that the Bedfords had been in a trench18 – 20 day’s at a time without being relieved, and they had been entrenched as close as 130 yards from the Germans whom they could hear talking. It was difficult to get ammunition and rations, and the work had to be done at night.
A striking instance of German treachery came under his notice. “About 30 Germans,” he said “came to give themselves up. They were holding up their hands as they came and our officer sent a party to receive them. As soon as our men went out the Germans threw themselves on the ground, disclosing others behind who immediately opened fire. Half of our party were knocked over and then the Germans ‘bunked off.’
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