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George Robinson Cooper was born in 1893, in Matterdale, the youngest of the nine children of Joseph and Bridget Cooper. His father had started working at Greenside mine around 1883 having been born in Penrith. The family lived in Dockray and it is likely that George attended school in Matterdale before starting work first at Crookabeck Farm, and then at Glencoyne Farm. It was from here that he enlisted in 1915, joining the 2nd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards, at the same time as Ernest Lake, and their childhood friend George Thompson.
He had been in the army for nearly 3 years at the time of his death, and had been wounded twice. He was initially reported missing and his death was confirmed as having been killed in action on 27th August 1918. Lieutenant HW Lake wrote to his parents to say “it was a great attack the guards made and I am sure your son did his share nobly”. His parents also received a rather more personal letter subsequently from Captain Eccles of the Coldstream Guards (his company commander)
“I was very sorry to hear that your son was killed on the 27th August. I would have written sooner but I was wounded myself . Your son was a good soldier and his death will be a great loss to the regiment. Men of his type can be ill spared. You have my deepest sympathy in your sad loss.”
It is likely that George died in the Second Battle of Bapaume. He is buried at Croisilles British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais, France, alongside over 1,000 other fallen comrades, the majority of whom were from the Guards divisions. He is commemorated on the Patterdale War memorial and the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour alongside his older brother Miles Cooper, of the Border Regiment, and his best friend Ernest Lake, who also appears alongside him on the Coldstream Guards medal roll shown at the bottom of this page.
George’s mother died in June 1904 and in July 1905 his father Joseph married Rachel Hayton. Joseph died in October 1922. George’s eldest brother Thomas married Edith Hannah Kitching from Hartsop in June 1907. We know they had one daughter, Mary Elizabeth born in July 1908. Another older brother Adam married Margaret Ellen Dewis in December 1908 . We know they had at least 7 children (James Robinson (1910), Margaret Annie (1913), Mary Evelyn Allinson (1914), Sydney Pattinson (April 1916), Dorothy Ellen (1917), Eileen Elsie* (1921), and Adam (1928). Adam died in 1941 in 7 Low Glenridding, and his wife died in 1965, aged 85. We’re not sure what became of all George’s nephews and nieces but we do know James Robinson continued to live at the family home of 7 Low Glenridding until his death in March 1992 aged 81.
If you can add anything to the story of George or his family please contact us.
Guardsman George Robinson Cooper
17523, 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards
Born May 1892 Matterdale. Died 27th August 1918 Aged 26 in Flanders.
Son of Joseph and Bridget (nee Allison) Cooper, Number 2 Glenridding
George’s Death as reported in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 21st September 1918
An extract from George’s Obituary in in the Cumberland & Westmorland Herald 28th September 1918
* In a cruel twist of fate one of George’s nieces, Eileen Elsie, married William Carmichael Wilson in May 1944 in Patterdale. William died during Operation Market Garden on 19th September 1944 and is commemorated on the Patterdale War memorial below his wife’s Uncle George.
Photo of George left on a memorial cross at the Patterdale War Memorial in 2017