William George Cooper, born at Warfield near Bracknell in 1878, was the son of George and Emma Cooper. George was a farm labourer.
William married Mary Smith on 25 February 1905 in the parish church at Warfield, where they were both born. A daughter, Mildred, was born 3 January 1906 and a son, William Leslie (Billy), on 26 December 1915.
William George Cooper enlisted in the Army on 10 December 1915 and was at that time a farm carter living at Coppice Cottages, Lower Earley. He was initially posted to the Army Reserve and not called forward until 28 December 1916. He was sent to the 94th Training Reserve Battalion at Chisledon, Wiltshire on 2 January 1917 and on 27 February 1917 he was transferred to the 95th TR Battalion, also at Chiseldon. This photograph was almost certainly taken while he was there for the letters “TR” can just be made out on his shoulders and the cap badge appears to be a General Service tunic button which was common practice in TR Battalions at that time.
After training he was posted to the 1st/7th Hampshires, a Territorial Battalion who were then serving in India, on 18 March 1917. The battalion moved to Aden in January 1918 and remained there until February 1919. The demobilisation process seems to have taken place in Aden before the battalion returned to Chiseldon for dispersal on 20 February 1919.
William returned to his family at Coppice Cottages but some time later the family moved to Englefield, certainly before 1928 when Mildred married Alfred James Tigwell from Reading in St Mark's church in the village. Mildred went to live with her husband in Reading and died in 1967; Alfred died less than four months later.
In 1939 William, Mary and Billy were living at 42 Chalkpit Cottages. William Cooper died in 1954
Billy Cooper remained in Englefield and worked at Chalkpit Farm. Latterly he lived at number 28 and died in 1986. He is seen at work in the photograph here.
© 2021 Richard J Smith