Canon James Ogden Coop DSO MA VD KHC
Chaplain to the Territorial Army
Died at home in Liverpool: 2nd June 1928
An Appreciation by General Sir H S Jeudwine KCB KBE
‘The sudden death of Canon Coop removes from our ken here a true soldier priest and most lovable man, whose promotion leaves a sore gap in the hearts of all who knew him. A volunteer, and later a Territorial Chaplain for many years before the war, he mobilised in 1914 with the West Lancashire Division, and when it was assembled in France in January 1916, as the 55th West Lancashire Division he became its Senior Chaplain, a post he held until remobilization in 1919.
His spirit and influence not only permeated his own department as evidenced by battle casualties – 4 Chaplains killed, four wounded and two missing. – but was felt throughout the whole Division, which owed much to his devoted work in its interests. He was ever at the call of its sick and wounded, and the difficulties often attending decent burial of the dead nether daunted him. To a high sense of duty and keen religious feeling he added a common touch, and his broadmindedness, modesty and sincerity enhanced a simple unfailing eloquence which went straight home, though his pulpit might be a packing case or limber. By his brother officers ‘the Padre’ was greatly beloved; his good humour was proof against the most searching chaff, and his optimism was gay and infectious. His pride in his Division was immense, and he wrote the story of it after the Armistice. It was as Senior Chaplain of the 55th Division that the writer first met Canon Coop, and was privileged to be admitted, during the more than three years war comradeship that followed, to a lasting friendship with him. On demobilization Coop returned to his parish at St Catherine’s Abercromby Square, Liverpool, and was transferred the following year to St Margaret’s Anfield. At both of these Churches he gathered around him congregations whose numbers and earnestness were evidences of his compelling though unpretentious personality and power for good. He took an active part in the formation of the Divisional Comrade’s Association, and as Chairman of its Executive Committee up to the time of his death was largely responsible for its administration and for the relief of distress amongst it members.
Nothing could have shown more clearly than the scene at his funeral the estimation in which he was held by all classes. The Cathedral was thronged by clergy and soldiers who had worked and fought with him, and by those to whom he was endeared as a pastor and friend. The military procession which escorted his coffin for some two milies to the Cathedral passed through dense crowds, filling some of the poorest streets of the city, whose silence and reverence was most striking. He earned the Territorial Decoration for long service, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his record in the war. In 1926 he was appointed on the King’s Honoury Chaplains, the first Territorial, it is believed to be so honoured.