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Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

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Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby JaneyH » Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:36 pm

I am trying to sort out two brothers on my husband's side of the family. Shown below is a family portrait of all eight children, taken about 1917.

Cope family c1917.jpg
Cope family c1917.jpg (207.17 KiB) Viewed 562 times


Far right is the eldest son, Edward Moseley Cope. I have comprehensive details of his military service and death in 1919. I'm inclined to believe that the children are standing in age order, right to left - I have another photo of them standing in the same order, in exactly the same location, a few years earlier. This would imply that the second person from the right (in a suit) is the second son, Robert Cope. His service record is on Ancestry and shows that he enlisted on 29 January 1916 and joined the Machine Gun Corps, mobilised 7 August 1918.

So assuming that the person third from right is third son, Charles Stanley Cope, born 17 August 1899, what is the uniform he's wearing? I've found his service record on the IWM's 'Lives of the First World War' website which shows he was in the the RAF from 1 April 1918, and wounded on 1 October 1918 at Wimereux in France. (This is confirmed by a newspaper article in the Nantwich Guardian.) My thinking is that Charles served elsewhere before joining the RAF - but where? Given his age it would only been for about a year. The photo above must have been taken before April 1918 because eldest son Edward was already a prisoner of war by this point.

As ever, all contributions gratefully received.
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Re: Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby AdrianB38 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:09 pm

If you go to http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/help-with-your-research/research-guides/raf-officers-service-records-1918-1919/ and enter Charles Cope's name, there is just one in this collection (AIR76, RAF Officers' Service Records). (That's £3.50 to download, by the way, but also available from FindMyPast).

An interesting new feature in the catalogue is that, after selecting his record, it gives possible other matches, which includes:
COPE, Charles Stanley
WO 339/122211 Army Officer's service record


There is no guarantee that it's the same guy. However, when you select it, the catalogue entry says it's for Officer Cadet Charles Stanley COPE Royal Flying Corps. So it's a pretty good bet that this is the same guy. RFC is what my instinct was when I saw the photo. The light coloured band on the cap, I'd not seen before in WW1, but somewhere recently it appeared in a WW2 photo where it was also sported by RAF officer cadets.

Like all(?) WO 339 papers, "This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded."

Comments on his RAF papers
- he lived just up the road from me - Rope Hall, Nantwich!
- p2 of the papers shows that he served as a Premium Apprentice with the London & North Western Railway at Crewe Loco Works.
- Ancestry has 4 records & images relating to his time at Crewe with the LNWR in the UK, Railway Employment Records, 1833-1956 - these suggest (on a quick reading) that he returned to the LNWR, leaving in 1922 due to injuries from the war
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Re: Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby JaneyH » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:27 am

Dear Adrian,

Many thanks for this; I know next to nothing about military uniforms so your input is much appreciated. I’m on the train to work now but I’ll look at the record on FMP this evening, along with the railway employment records on Ancestry. I may also be able to get to Kew before Christmas, so I’ll add that one to my list.

I was aware of Charles’ apprenticeship from the newspaper article mentioning his injuries. My understanding is that he was in hospital for many months. In later life he was the Chairman of Crewe Alexandria FC!

Almost all of my husband’s family hail from Cheshire. The Copes were farmers from Wybunbury and Walgherton, but many others were from in and around Winsford - farmers on the maternal side, and salt-miners on the paternal. Sadly we don’t appear to have any connection with the village that we share our surname with - Hough. I do have a photo of my husband and son standing by the sign at the entrance to the village though


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Re: Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby avaline » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:59 am

There are two casualty cards for him on the RAF Museum site - one initially detailing his injury as 'GSW left thigh & fractured femur, dangerously ill'. Also noted is the other occupant of the aircraft.
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Re: Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby AdrianB38 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:49 pm

avaline wrote:... casualty cards for him on the RAF Museum site ...

Thank you for that - I'd missed or forgotten their existence.
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Re: Charles Stanley Cope and Robert Cope

Postby JaneyH » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:26 pm

That’s a new one for me - thanks, avaline.


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