The Friends of St. Peter's Berkhamsted

Friends of St Peter's, Great Berkhamsted

Cooper, Arthur Thomas (1891 – 1924)

Grave Number 837

Arthur was born on 8 Dec 1890 and shows on the census of the following year as 3 months old. He was living with his father William, a plumber and his mother, Emily. The family were living in Manor Street and he had two older brothers, Walter and John. By 1901 Arthur had an additional four sisters and the family had moved to live at 10 Station Road.

When he left school, Arthur trained as a cabinet maker and is shown on the 1911 census as still living with his mother at 10 Station Road but by this time his father had died. Arthur later became a policeman, probably encouraged by the prospects by his elder brother, Walter, who was in the metropolitan police force by 1911. Arthur did not sign up on the outbreak of war but joined the Royal Navy on 28 January 1916, aged 25 (number F 10927). He was an air mechanic with the Royal Navy Air Service which later merged with the Royal Flying Corp to form the Royal Air Force. He was based on the 4th Balloon Base (Honeysuckle) which was a mine sweeper and saw service in Malta and the Aegean. Working on a mine sweeper in these locations was a very risky business. There was no plan to tell were the mines had been placed and they relied on a man in a balloon tied to the ship to spot the mine and relay the location via a telephone wire. This work continued long after the armistice. Arthur was eventually placed on the reserve list in October 1919 and was deemed as discharged in April 1920. He was entitled to the British War and Victory Medals for his foreign service.

He died on 6 April 1924 aged 33 and left £483 to his mother Emily. Arthur’s brother Walter had died in Calais in 1919 and is remembered on the headstone in Rectory Lane Cemetery.

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