CFHS code : HS68

Parish : Holy Sepulchre

Inscription : In Loving Memory of Our beloved parents WILLIAM COOLEY d Aug 27 1917 age 68 MARY ANN COOLEY d Feb 4 1940 age 81

Monument : Kerb stones

Above information from Cambridge Family History Society Survey

Lat Lon : 52.202238, 0.1380389 – click here for location



William Cooley (19 February 1849 – 27 August 1917)

William was born at 53 King Street in Shoreditch and was the son of policeman William and his wife Mary Ann (née Allen). He was baptised on 27 May 1849 at St. Mary’s Church, Haggerston. Aged 12 he was living with his family at Bentley Terrace in Highbury and working as an errand boy. William married Mary Ann Scanlon on 18 May 1875 at St. Jude’s Church, Chelsea  and they had nine children: William James (1875-1914), May (1878-), George Fordham (1880-1953), Lottie (1884-1940), Friday Edmund (Edmund) (1888-1940), Richard Walter (1891-1952), Kathleen Ethel (Kate) (1893-1986) and a further two children. William worked as a plasterer and by 1888 when son Edmund was born they had moved to live at 16 Vicarage Terrace in Cambridge, and later moved to York Street (1901 onwards).

The Cooley family were heavily impacted by the 1st world war. Son William died aboard the HMS Cressy at the start of the 1st World War. Daughter Kate’s husband Private Owen Farey Horn (1890-1917) was killed in Belgium whilst serving with the 1st Batallion Gloucester Regiment. Son Sgt. Richard Walter served with the Machine Gun Corps and was taken as a prisoner of war and imprisoned at Cassel.  Richard wrote to the Cambridge Daily News in September 1918 and asked ‘will you kindly state in your paper that I am alive and well, as I have numerous friends in dear old Cambridge. Cheero!’  He was later  released and took part in the Reception of Welcome on 15 January1919 at Parker’s Piece and the Guildhall when c.900 prisoners of war were welcomed back to Cambridge by the Lord Lieutenant, the Mayor and the Vice Chancellor. The Lord Lieuteant’s speech at the Guildhall started ‘Welcome home, welcome back to England and back to your country which is proud of you’.

In March 1917 Mary Cooley applied for an exemption for her son George who was 37 years old and worked as a milk carrier.  In her application she said ‘out of four sons, three had served, one of whom had been killed.  Applicant was an invalid, and so was her husband, and if the remaining son – their main support -were taken, only one daughter would be left to look after the invalid parents’.  William Cooley was said to have been an invalid since 1904 (he was recorded as an out of work plasterer on the 1911 census). George was given exemption until May 1917, but did enlist on 5 June 1917 into the Royal Garrison Artillery.

William died at the Mill Road Infirmary aged 68 years old after ‘a long and painful illness’.

Mary Ann Cooley (née Scanlon)  (14 April 1858 – 4 February 1940)

Mary Cooley (née Scanlon)
Mary Cooley (née Scanlon) in later life

Mary was the daughter of James and Mary and was born in Chelsea. She married William Cooley when she was 17 years old. After she was widowed she continued to live at 111 York Street with sons George and Edmund (1939) and died at 45 Abbey Road aged 81 years old.

From Parish burial records it is know that William and Mary’s son Edmund was also buried in the Holy Sepulchre area of the cemetery and is believed to have been buried with his parents

Friday Edmund ( Edmund) (24 February 1888 – July 1942)

In 1911 Edmund was working as a carman (delivery driver) and living with his family at York Road.  He served in the 1st World war with the Royal Army Medical Corp , 1st Eastern General Hospital. He enlisted in November 1915 and was discharged in June 1917 due to ‘no longer being physically fit for war service’. He then lived with his mother and brother George at York Street and in 1939 was documented as being a bakery storeman.  He died at 45 Abbey Road aged 54 years old and was buried at Mill Road Cemetery on 18 July 1942.



Newspaper archives

by Claire Martinsen

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Edmund Cooley; Mary Ann Cooley; William Cooley