Benjamin Cooley


Benjamin Cooley


First World War

Date of Death / Age


Rank, Service Number & Service Details

Grenadier Guards
2nd Bn.

Awards: Service Medals/Honour Awards

British War and Victory medals

Cemetery/Memorial: Name/Reference/Country

II. A. 20.

Headstone Inscription


UK & Other Memorials

Hemel Hempstead Town Memorial,
St John the Evangelist Church Memorial, Boxmoor,
St Francis of Assisi Memorial, Hammerfield,
St John the Evangelist Church Memorial, Boxmoor,
Not on the Berkhamsted memorials,
Not on the Northchurch memorials

Pre War

Benjamin Cooley was born in 1892 in Northchurch, nr Berkhamsted, Herts, the son of William Cooley and Matilda (nee Osborn). He was the youngest of 12 children. 

On the 1901 Census, the family were living at 14 Hammerfield, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, where his father was a shoemaker and his mother was a provisions shopkeeper.  There were six children living at home at that time. They remained in Hammerfield on the 1911 Census, living at 14 Sunny Hill Road, All five children living at home were working and Benjamin was working as a labourer. His father was listed with his nephew Alfred Cooley and family at 8 Potten End, Berkhamstead, Herts with the occupation of Boot Repairer. 

He married Elsie Caroline Crook in 1912 in Hemel Hempstead and they lived at 13 Glenview Road, Boxmoor, Herts. Before they married she was listed on the 1911 Census as a laundress at 15 Sunny Hill Road, Hammerfield. They had three daughters, Dorothy (1913) and  twins Maud C and Mabel Carrie (1914) (N.B. Mabel was known as Carrie and when she married in 1941 was registered as Carrie Mabel).

His widow later lived at Atherstone, Warwickshire and gave her mothers address at Aynho, Northants, nr Banbury, Oxon on pension records. Elsie didn't remarry and died in Taunton, Somerset in 1975. 

(N.B. his daughter Maud is not listed as a dependent on pension records and it is assumed that she must have died, however a death registration has not been located. )

Wartime Service

Benjamin was called up and enlisted at Watford in March 1916, joining the Grenadier Guards. He was send to Caterham, Surrey for basic training and was posted to the 2nd Battalion, probably being sent to France later the same year. 

He would have seen action during the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, in 1917, and where the 2nd  Battalion, Grenadier Guards suffered heavy casualties. The following year they were involved in a series of actions in March and were subjected to heavy shelling. It is likely that Benjamin was wounded during one of these attacks and he was taken to No. 3 Field Ambulance where he died from his wounds on 30 Mar 1918, aged 27. The local newspaper reported after his death that he had previously been wounded and had only recently returned to the Front. 

He is buried in the Bac-due-Sud British Cemetery, Bailleulval, France.

Additional Information

His widow received a war gratuity of £8 10s and pay owing of £3 13s 9d as well as a pension of £1 5s 5d a week from 21 October 1918.

Brother Cornelius served in RFA as Gunner 911307 from Aug 1916, with BEF from Aug 1917 with 37 Division Ammunition Column until Jan 1918 and Tank Corps Depot until demobilization in Feb 1919.

Brother Edward Harry served with Royal Field Artillery (Gunner 196476), Northants Regiment (Private 1896) and Norfolk Regiment (private 40649) and suffered a gunshot wound to his left shoulder in April 1917. He was demobilised in Feb 1919.


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