No. 17473, 13th Battalion Royal Irish Rifles transferred to
No. 31430, Royal Irish Fusiliers
Survived the Great War
It was reported in the Press that Riflemen Henry Cooley from Holywood had died of wounds.
Riflemen Henry Cooley is included here as an example of a soldier who was reported in the Press as having died of wounds in 1916 when in fact he recovered from his wounds and survived.
Riflemen Henry Cooley was born on 14 September 1890 in Strand Street, Holywood and he survived the Great War.
Henry Cooley was a son of William John and Emily Cooley (nee Nimmick, sometimes Nimick and sometimes Minack) who were married on 18 August 1880 in Holywood Parish Church of Ireland Church (St Philip and St James). William John Cooley (aged 25), a sailor from Strand Street, Holywood was a son of William Cooley, a labourer. Emily Nimmick (aged 23) from Strand Street, Holywood was a daughter of James Nimmick, a carpenter.
The Cooley family lived at 3 Strand Street, Holywood.
William John Cooley worked as a sailor, labourer and coal carter and he and Emily had thirteen children:
William John (born 26 May 1881)
Elizabeth Ann (born 16 March 1883)
Emily (born 31 May 1885)
Twins Harriet and Violet (born 30 January 1887)
James (born 19 February 1888)
Henry (born 14 September 1890)
Isabella (Bella, born 27 October 1892)
Alice Scott (born 27 November 1894)
Elizabeth (born 17 November 1895)
Alexander (born 9 December 1896)
Hugh (born 23 November 1898)
Harriet (born 2 July 1903)
Prior to the outbreak of the Great War Henry Cooley worked with his father as a coal carter. He joined the Royal Irish Rifles (No. 17473) and went to France on 3 October 1915 where he served with ‘A’ Company of the 13th Battalion in 108th Brigade of the 36th (Ulster) Division. He was wounded in action on the first day of the Battle of the Somme and, after he recovered, he was transferred to the Royal Irish Fusiliers (No. 31430).
Sometime after 3 December 1918 Rifleman Henry Cooley was discharged to Class Z Army Reserve (such men returned to civilian life but had an obligation to return to active service if called upon).