13206 Pte 7 Bn East Yorks Regt. Wounded on 1/6/1916 during the first day of the Battle of the Somme. The following from relations: – “He was shot through the hand when they went over the top on the first afternoon. Apparently he arrived in the German trenches without his rifle and fought with his trenching tool. He said that there were many spare rifles lying around, and he picked one up so that he didn’t get into trouble for losing his”.
His second wound, which ended his combat duty, was on 21/4/1917. He was the only survivor of a three man Lewis gun party when a shell landed in the trench but he was protected because he was on a firing step cut into the trench wall. He later volunteered to go back as a stretcher bearer, hence his second service number; 134999 R.A.M.C. b 1890 Barnfield, Hathersage, son of James Cooper b Hathersage, a hackle pin grinder, and brother of Joseph & William. 1911C; living at Sheffield.
We have a copy of a photo from Chris Hobbs’ website of him seated with a Robert Draycott (standing).
From C Hobbs’ website; “On July 1st 1916, my Great Grandfather, Private Sam Cooper, was with the 7th Battalion, The East Yorkshire Regiment opposite the town of Fricourt. To the north were the British lines, including many of the ‘Pals’ regiments, to the east were the French army. From going over the top, I believe the regiment lost around 123 killed and wounded in 3 minutes or so. Fricourt was the first part of the British line where the British broke through and, on July 2nd, Sam’s battalion reached Fricourt Wood, which had been heavily shelled by the British and largely destroyed; they found a single tree that had survived the carnage largely undamaged, and some of them cut a branch as a good luck token. Sam carried this with him for the rest of the war, surviving going over the top 21 times, though being wounded twice and ending the war in the medical corps. The stick has been made into a swagger stick, complete with silver 1916 3d piece in the handle. The stick bears a couple of small scars from shrapnel and has now been passed on to my son, along with Sam’s campaign medals and other memorabilia.