PRIVATE JAMES WALTER COOPER
AUSTRALIAN TM BATTERY
23RD JULY 1918 AGE 38
BURIED: BORRE BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing
Can touch him further.
Macbeth Act 3 Sc. 2
James Cooper was a fireman from Southern Cross, Yilgarn, Western Australia who emigrated from England in 1912 when he was 32. He enlisted in 1916 and embarked for Europe on 23 November 1916. Born in Reigate, Surrey he served for 12 years in the Royal Field Artillery before moving to Australia.
His wife, Edith, chose his inscription. Macbeth is speaking to his wife telling her that Duncan the king is dead, he has killed him. However, one gets the sense that even in his, the murderer's mind, there is an element of envy for the freedom from fear and danger in which Duncan now rests.
At the time Mrs Cooper confirmed the inscription she was living in St George's Hostel in Katanning, Western Australia. This imposing building was built in 1913 to house itinerant workers drawn to the town by the booming agricultural prosperity of the area.