William COOPER
Rank: Private
Number: 18447
Date of Death: 8 July 1916
Age: 32
Cemetery: Hamel Military Cemetery, Beaumont-Hamel, Somme, France

William lived all his life in Stockport until he volunteered for the army on 29 March 1915. He was married, with four children, and lived at 11 Wood Street, Daw Bank. He worked as a labourer for the London & North Western Railway Company.

The Battle of the Somme had started on 1 July. William and his mates had attacked German positions at Beaumont-Hamel and had succeeded in getting into the enemy trench system. The Germans counter-attacked later in the day and the Fusiliers were forced to withdraw back to their starting position.. They had suffered 368 casualties - dead, wounded or missing.

On the 3rd, they moved to near the village of Mailly-Maillet and, the next day, relieved the 1st Royal Irish Fusiliers in trenches described in the Battalion's War Diary as being "either side of the Roman Road". There would be no attacks during this tour of duty, but there was frequent artillery shelling for a couple of days.

Saturday, 8 July saw temperatures reach 73F even though it was overcast. The Diary entry only reads "Short bombardment of enemy trenches. Feeble retaliation". It may have been feeble but it is probable that it was shrapnel from one of the shells that killed William. He was the only member of the Battalion to die on that day.

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