"An angel on a pedestal
of white Sicilian marble
with columns of Labrador granite."
And so the story of Joseph Cooper,
and Albert James Stormey
both Volunteers of Limehouse, have taken me on another twist which,
again, makes me shed more than one tear and think of what life must
have been like for my people back then.
Spare a thought for Emily Elizabeth Cooper,
wife of Joseph and probably, although to be
confirmed, sister of Albert Stormey.
In May 1916 Emily gets informed of her husband's
death at the Front. My Nan (her daughter) could
still feel the indescribable pain well into the 1980's
The previous December, her deaf brother joined up and
is by now dying of TB brought on by his military service.
He will be dead by the coming Christmas.
Her father, John Stormey was a platelayer in 1899,
defined as "a workman who lays and maintains railway
track". I dont know yet but I imagine Alfred James'
could have worked alongside his father as he is also
described as a Plate Improver on his Medical Discharge.
But now, in Poplar, June 13th 1917 arrives, hot and hazy...
As some of the children at Upper North Street school were making paper chains,
high above them the German air force began their first daylight raid on London,
'scintillating like so many huge silver dragonflies'...
What Happened Next:
104 people were killed. 423 were injured, 154 of them seriously.
How People Responded:
The Memorial Today:
"In memory of 18 children who were killed by a bomb
dropped from a German Aeroplane upon the L.C.C. School,
Upper North Street, on 13th June, 1917."
Louise Annie Acampora (5)
Alfred Ernest Batt (5)
Leonard Charles Barford (5)
John Percy Brennan (5)
William Thomas Henry Challen (4)
Alice Maud Cross (5)
William Hollis (5)
George Albert Hyde (5)
Grace Jones (5)
Rose Martin (11)
George Morris (6)
Edwin Cecil William Powell (12)
Robert Stimson (5)
Elizabeth Taylor (5)
Rose Tuffin (5)
Frank Winfield (5)
The funerals were held on June 20th.
Spare a thought this coming Friday.
I cannot confirm yet whether any of Emily and Joseph's children,
including my Nan aged 9, attended Upper North Street School, but
it would fit today's 'catchment' area better than most. It was
certainly in the very close vicinity to where they were all living
at the time.
I had also always presumed that my Nan's fear and loathing
of aeroplanes and sheer terror at thunderstorms was due to
living on the Isle of Dogs during the WW2 Blitz, but I guess
it may have actually seeded itself earlier...
The thing's you learn, eh
This photo is of Emily Elizabeth Cooper (on right)
with her sons Bill and Frank Cooper. I have often
wondered about this photo.
The smile of Emily looks drawn, while Bill
and Frank still look a 'bit shell shocked'.
It will have to be confirmed by look-ups etc (any help appreciated!)
to determine ages and all that, but I wonder now if this photo was
actually taken in Maidenhead in July 1917, especially after reading
this on one of the above linked pages:
"The Mayor of Poplar and Will Crooks, the local MP, headed the raising of a 'convalescents' fund,
to send bereaved mothers and traumatised children away for a fortnight's recuperation.
At the beginning of July the first parties - 14 mothers, some with babies,
and 70 children from Upper North Street School - set out for 'the beautiful
up-river resort of Maidenhead. Women and children appeared delighted at the
prospect of a couple of weeks amidst the sylvan charms of Berkshire, away
from the din and nerve-trying memories of Poplar.
A small party, including the Mayoress, also went to Maidenhead 'to see the mothers
and children safely installed in their holiday cottages, and that every comfort conducive
to health was provided'."