|From material supplied by Trevor Cooper|
|My branch of the Coopers first arrived in Burton Latimer about the year 1913, when my grandfather Richard William Cooper came to work for Charles Barlow as his groom and chauffeur. Richard had been born on the 17 June 1885 in the small village of Wrecclesham near Farnham Surrey, the eldest child of Richard and Sarah (née Jetton). In 1901, perhaps having lied about his age, he joined the East Surrey Regiment and was sent to fight in South Africa in the Boer War (1899-1902). Here he gained a vast knowledge about horses. Perhaps some of his main duties were to look after them. At the end of the war he came to work as a groom at Great Doddington. Why he came there is unknown. He may have served with someone who came from there during his time in South Africa. While working at Great Doddington he took his employer on a visit to Warkton to the Rev. Whistler. Very likely his master went to see the Montague monuments in the church. Whilst at Warkton he met a girl called Rosina Mary Eastbrook, a servant in the employ of the Rev. Whistler. The couple starting going out together and fell in love. On the 21st September 1913 they married at Warkton. Richard now left the employment at Great Doddington and came to Burton Latimer.The couple lived in a small cottage in Pearson’s Row at the bottom of Station Road. Here in 1914 Rosina gave birth to a son Richard William Henry. ln August that year Britain declared war on Germany. No doubt Richard wanted to join up and go and fight the Hun, but Rosina was again pregnant so Richard stayed with her. A daughter, Millicent Kathleen, was born on 14th February 1915. The following year saw the terrible Battle of the Somme and again it is likely that Richard wanted to enlist. However Charles Barlow kept him from joining up. Not only that Rosina was expecting their third child. In November 1916 Richard became ill and was eventually admitted to Kettering Hospital where his health deteriorated. At the beginning of December it was obvious Richard was very ill indeed. On Wednesday the 6th December at 11:30 in the morning Rosina gave birth to a boy whom she called Dennis George. Sadly that night at 7:00 pm Richard died at the early age of 31. He was buried in grave No 89 in Burton Latimer cemetery.
My grandmother continued living in the cottage in Pearson’s Row but in about 1919 she went to work for a Doctor Warner at Finedon. Because there was no room for the children they were put in to the Cottage Home in Burton. Later she moved to Wellingborough to live where she remained until her death in 1968 aged 77 years.The three children whom she left behind were all eventually lodged out with local families.
The eldest Richard William Henry grew up to work in the local shoe factories. On June 4th 1938 at the age of 24 he married at St Andrew’s Church Kettering, Eileen Isabel Howell of Kettering. The couple had two children Davina and David. In 1939 Richard and his brother Dennis passed out as Auxiliary Firemen. However when war was declared in September Richard joined the Royal Air Force and was stationed in the near East as a Wireless Operator and Air Gunner. Following the war he retumed home to Burton Latimer where he lived at 4, Elm Road. Richard was heavily involved in sport, (as a young lad he had played football for Burton St Mary’s football team), and now became a cricket umpire and a local football referee. He was also appointed to be a Football League linesman. It was whilst running the line at Crystal Palace that he is known to have twisted his ankle and had to be helped home all the way to Kettering by my father. Richard later became involved in local politics and served on Burton Latimer Urban District Council, twice becoming its Chairman. Richard died in 1993.
Millicent married in 1933 a lad from Finedon called Gilbert Leslie Blackwell and had two daughters Valerie and Molly. Although at first Millie and Les (as he preferred tobe called) lived at Finedon, they later moved to Wellingborough and then to St. Hellier, Jersey . Later the couple moved back to Wellingborough and finally to Queensway in Burton. Both Millie and Les died in 1992.
My father Dennis remained in Burton, working in the local shoe factories. In his younger days he had a love of boxing and became known in the ring as Tiger Cooper. At the outbreak of World War Two he joined the Northamptonshire Regiment and was posted overseas to Burma. lt is ironic that neither he or his brother need have joined up because, as trained auxiliary firemen, they would have been exempt from the services. While overseas my father was wounded three times but each time went back to the front. Eventually he was captured by the Japanese and was held in Changi prison camp. He was sent to work on the Burma railway but luckily the RAF bombed the train and he escaped eventually getting back to India. He is known to have been at Kohima and eventually fought his way to Rangoon when the Japanese surrendered in 1945. Following his demob he came back to Burton Latimer and took up work again in the local shoe factory. lt was here that he met my mother Dorothy and the couple were married at the Baptist Church on 23rd September 1950. ln 1961 the family moved to live at Southend in Essex but returned to Burton in 1983. My father died in 1995 and my mother in 2007, both are buried in Burton cemetery.