669089 Pte. William John Hayes Cooper was born in England in 1897; his father died, and his mother emigrated to Canada in 1907 and remarried.

William enlisted in the 166th (Queen's own Rifles of Canada) Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (C.E.F), in Toronto on 19th January, 1916. He was transferred to the 83rd (Queen's Own Rifles) Reserve Battalion on April 11th, 1916.

Sailing for Europe from Halifax on April 28th, 1916, aboard the S.S. Olympic, William arrived in Liverpool, England, on May 7th. He spent the next three months at the Canadian Army Base at Shorncliffe, near Folkestone, in Kent. He embarked for France on July 28th, and landed on July 29th, and along with 240 other men of the 83rd Battalion, William was formally attached to the 4th Canadian Mounted Rifles, whom he joined "in the field" on July 29th.

On October 1st, 1916, the 4th and 5th CMRs (part of the 8th Brigade) attacked the Regina Trench obliquely across the Grandcourt Road, with the 4th CMR on the left.

The Canadians were met by a hail of machine-gun fire; many died in No Man's Land, some died against the barbed wire, while others reached the Trench but were overpowered and killed.

William Cooper died at Regina Trench on that first day of "The Battle of Ancre Heights", on October 1st, 1916.

He is buried in the Regina Trench Cemetery, 1.5 kilometres north-west of Courcelette, a village about 8 kilometres north-east of Albert. His name is inscribed on Page 70 of the First World War Book of Remembrance, which is held in the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

Pictures and biography credit: Chris Thompson