Rev James Ogden Coop

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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.

6 responses to “Rev James Ogden Coop

  1. I am 13 years old and I am the great great grand niece of Rev James Coop. I am working on a WW1 history project and my grandmother and dad have been telling me all about him and we have researched a bit more for my project. He wrote a book which we bought on Amazon entitled ‘The Story of the 55th (West Lancashire) Division. I am very proud.

    • Hello Izzy, I am a lot older than you, but we are probably cousins of some kind. My grandmother was Dora Coop, Rev. Coop’s younger sister.
      I am interested in knowing more of the Coop family history, and wondered if your father or grandmother know of a family tree or have information about the family and the Coop ancestors.
      I have just ordered the book that Rev. James Coop wrote, and am looking forward to reading it, he seems to have been a remarkable man. My father, Alan Barlow, was Dora Coop’s son, so we knew some of my father’s cousins (presumably daughters of Rev. Coop) in Liverpool, Aunt Monica, Aunt Nancy and Aunt Kitty. They all lived near the Liverpool Cricket Club. Aunt Kitty’s son was doing family research, but I have lost touch with him. I think his name was William Fulton.
      I hope you don’t mind my contacting you.
      All the best, and I hope the project was/is a success.
      Ann Barlow Carr

    • William Fulton

      Dear Izzy,

      My name is William Fulton. I am the son of Canon Coop’s second daughter, Kitty. I would be very happy for you to contact me on fultonw@gmail.com

      I may be able to help you with your project. I would be happy to learn more about how you link into our family. Is your grandfather David Coop ?

      All good wishes,

      Willie Fulton

  2. It may interest readers of this page that his signature appears in a unique War Memorial Album dedicated to the men of Chorley in Lancashire. He appears alongside other Chaplains but is accompanied in nearby pages with the signatures of a Pope, Presidents of Europe and America, Monarchs, politicians and Generals of the allied nations. If anyone can help establish a connection between Coop and a woman called Susannah Knight ( a diary entry of a chance meeting, perhaps), Astley Hall in Chorley would be extremely interested.

  3. I have an old welsh bible, and in the back of it are two newspaper cuttings. One of them is a picture of Rev James Ogden Coop with the following text ‘The Rev. James Ogden Coop, mentioned in despatches for gallantry and devotion, Vicar of St Catherine’s, Liverpool’. I don’t know who the bible belonged to, but it is obvious that Rev James was important to them and its fascinating to be able to have these glimpses into their life. Thank you for your tribute.

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