Bandboy Private John Cooper
Bandboy Private John Cooper (aged 16) of the 1st Battalion, Manchester Regiment (Aherla)
Date of incident: 5 June 1921 (captured, executed, and disappeared as suspected intelligence operative by IRA)
Sources: IT, 6 Sept. 1924; British Forces Missing (Military Archives, A/0909); JUS/H/257/13 (NAI); Patrick Cronin’s WS 710 (BMH); Jeremiah O’Herlihy’s WS 810, 18 (BMH); D’Arcy (2007), 50-59; irishmedals.org (accessed 28 July 2014); Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/list-1921.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/band-boy-murders/cooper/cooper.html; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/band-boy-murders/band-boy.html (accessed 8 Aug. 2014); http://www.tameside.gov.uk/museumsgalleries/mom/objectfocus/razor (17 Sept. 2015).
Note: Born at Oldham in 1905, Cooper was one of three bandboys belonging to the Manchester Regiment who were executed by the IRA on 5 June 1921 near Aherla. See the previous two notes. The repatriation of his remains and those of the other two executed bandboys began on 5 September 1924, when Free State troops at Cork handed over the twice-exhumed bodies to the British military authorities for removal to London. The bodies ‘were received on board the S.S. Moorfowl at Penrose Quay by Colonel Heywood, commanding the South Irish Coast Defences, and [by] a party of the Royal Garrison Artillery. A detachment of Free State troops was lined up on the quay opposite the steamer, and as the coffins were being conveyed on board, presented arms, while buglers sounded the Last Post.’ See The Times, 6 Sept. 1924. Cooper too was reinterred at Ashton-under-Lyne on 9 September 1924.