LIEUTENANT NOWELL EDWIN COOPER
HUNTINGDON CYCLIST BATTALION
16TH OCTOBER 1918 AGE 21
BURIED: BEAULENCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, LIGNY-THILLOY, FRANCE
Nowell Cooper, who served with the 1st Huntingdon Cyclist Battalion attached to the 2nd Battalion Suffolk Regiment, died of wounds in No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station Beaulencourt on 16 October 1918.
His medal card doesn't indicate when he joined the cyclist battalion but it was formed in February 1914. Initially used exclusively for home coastal defence, eventually small groups of cyclists were transferred to the Western Front where by late 1918 they had become useful for reconnaissance work. The trench warfare was over; it was now a war of movement and bicycles had become an important means of transport. They were silent, fast and light, the latter meaning that they could be carried over difficult terrain. Bicycles were in effect a form of calvary whose 'steeds' were not so expensive to maintain.
Nowell Cooper was the middle of his parents three children. Father was a railway accountant's clerk and the family lived in Dinas Powis in Glamorganshire.
It was his father who signed for this very touching inscription - Dear lad, good bye.