Convoy and Hospital Duties
Joseph Cooper was born on 21st December 1872 in Lew, Oxfordshire and baptised on 2nd March 1873. His parents were Robert, an agricultural labourer, also from Lew and Sarah Cooper nee Thorn, from Pardon Hill in Gloucestershire.
In 1881 they lived in Brize Norton, home of the large RAF station although this wasn't built until 1937. At this time he had an older brother, Charles, who was 18 years old and working as an agricultural labourer like their father, and an older sister Elizabeth Sarah who was living and working as a servant elsewhere. He also had two younger brothers, David and Thomas.
By 1891 Joseph had moved to Carswell Marsh, Buckland in Oxfordshire and was lodging with a man named John Moss and his mother. John was a carter, and Joseph was an under carter.
By 1901 Joseph had married Mary Alderson, though I have not found a marriage record. They were living at Quarry Cottage in Hawes in North Yorkshire. Joseph was now working as a railway signalman. He and Mary had a seven week old son, Robert Thomas. Mary's sister Phyllis was also living with them.
In 1911 the family had grown. Joseph and Mary had four more children - Sarah Alice (1902), Christopher John (1903), Joseph Herbert (1905) and Henry Harold (1908). Joseph was still working as a railway signalman. They had moved again, to Low Mill in Guiseley.
Electoral registers show the Coopers living in Bingley by 1915, at 23 Unity Street. This was also their address when Joseph signed up as a VAD and worked from July 1916 until May 1919 in convoy and hospital duties at Morton Banks War Hospital, working for a total of 1,025 hours during that time.
The Coopers appear to have remained in Bingley for the remainder of their lives. At the time of the 1939 Register they were still at 23 Unity Street, Joseph described as a retired railway signalman.
Mary died in 1945, and Joseph on 14th March 1955, having stayed at 23 Unity Street.
Oxfordshire, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1915
1881 England Census
1891 England Census
1901 England Census
1911 England Census
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962
1939 England and Wales Register
England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995