Colonel Harry Cooper CMG, CBE

Harry Cooper was born on 14 April 1847 to Henry and Catherine Cooper.

Coming from a wealthy family Harry attended Brentwood School and then the Royal Military College at Sandhurst.

He entered the army as an ensign in the 91st foot and was then transferred to the 47th foot in 1866.

In 1870 the retirement of Lieutenant J D Macpherson left a vacancy which Harry was able to purchase and become a Lieutenant in the 47th Foot.

With the 47th Foot he served in the suppression of Fenian raids in  Canada, West Indies, Ireland, and the East Indies and  from 1873 to 1874 performed a special service in Ashanti before becoming Vice Consul in Serbia from 1877 to 78 and Asia Minor from 1879-90.

He served in South Africa in 1881 and then was ADC to Lord Dufferin  the Viceroy of India from1884-88. This was followed by a role as the Chief Staff Officer of occupied Egypt from1896 to 1898 before returning home to act as ADC to Queen Victoria from 1898 to 1901 and to King Edward Vll from 1901 to 1904.

In 1899 he became assistant Adjutant General in the Western District followed by  Colonel on Staff at the Cape Colony from1899 to 1902.

By this time Harry was both a skillful soldier and diplomat who had a love for his home county and was an ideal appointment in command of the Essex VB Brigade in a transition period where the volunteers were becoming a frontline Territorial Force.

He lived at Wickham Bishops where he entered into the local activity even becoming chairman of the Witham Boy Scout Group.

Harry found that the four Battalions were being run very differently. An obvious difference was that two wore riflemen uniforms of green and two infantry scarlet but there were so many other differences in training and standards.

Over the next two years things changed with a new professionalism with a hardening up procedure needed for Officers as well as other ranks although harry recognised that as the men were volunteers combining work and play was the best way of getting the most out of his men. For that reason the summer camps were often held near the sea so that the men could use their off duty time for recreation as the majority had to use their annual allocation of holiday to attend the camp.

He was known from his happy disposition which cheered many another person on.

Harry stayed in command until 1911 when the VB Battalions were assimilated safely  into the Territorial Army but even then he  became Vice Chairman of the Essex Territorial Association until the war began in 1914 at which point he was appointed as commanding officer for no3 District in France which was a position that he held until 1917.

In 1912 He qualified as a JP and sat on the bench and at Quarter Sessions on many occasions and was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of Essex.

Harry moved to Pakenham House near Bury St Edmunds where he died on 9 November 1928.