Topic: Lance Corporal Arthur Leslie Cooper

Topic type:

A soldier of the Great War who died of tuberculosis in Christchurch.

Lance Corporal Leslie (Arthur Leslie) Cooper - 24/723          Arthur Leslie Cooper 

Arthur Leslie, known as Leslie, was born at Christchurch on 3 May 1891, son of Arthur and Clara Jane Cooper. Before enlisting he was working as a farm labourer for P. Clinton at Springston. He was 6ft and ½ inches tall with a dark complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

Leslie enlisted at Trentham on 29th May 1915 and was assigned to the New Zealand Rifle Brigade, 2nd Battalion. He embarked 9 October on board the Rakaia. Whilst on board he was fined 5 days pay for smoking and carrying his rifle slung whilst on sentry duty. He arrived in Egypt 18 November 1915 and joined the 3rd Rifle Brigade on 21 November and proceeded to Ismailia on 17 January 1916. He was admitted to hospital briefly at Ismailia in February. He embarked for France from Alexandria on 6 April 1916. He was wounded in action, suffering a scalp wound on 22 July and was admitted to No 8 Stationary Hospital for treatment. He was back at the depot at Etaples by 30 July 1916. He re-joined his unit on 7 August but was wounded again this time a shell wound to his side on the 15 September but after treatment re-joined his unit on the 20 September. He was detached to a Canadian unit on 4th May, presumably to train or be trained, re-joining his unit on 19 and the same day he was detached for duty with the CRE. However on 23 May he was sent to hospital sick. Taken up by the field ambulance with a headache by the time he got to No 13 Field Hospital it was called “debility” and then at the time he boarded the Hospital Ship St Patrick it was diagnosed as “trench fever”. This is a disease borne by body lice that was first recognized in the trenches of World War I, when it is estimated to have affected more than a million people. The disease is classically a 5-day fever. The onset of symptoms is sudden with high fever, severe headache, back pain and leg pain and a fleeting rash. He was admitted to No 1 General Hospital at Brokenhurst on 2 July and then the Convalescent Hospital at Hornchurch on 4 September. Further investigation showed that he had chronic pulmonary tuberculosis and the medical board placed him on the unfit roll on 14 November 1917. He embarked for New Zealand on board the Maheno departing on 24 December 1917. Trench fever was listed as a cause but also that he had been infected with Tuberculosis. He was discharged on 16 July 1918 as no longer physically fit for service. He died at the Cashmere Sanatorium, Christchurch on 28 June 1920. He was accorded a military funeral at the Sydenham Cemetery, on Thursday, July 1st. Many beautiful wreaths were placed on the coffin, amongst them being one from the pupils of the Loburn District  School, with whom the late soldier was a great favourite. Leslie is remembered on the Springston War Memorial and the Ashburton War Memorial.

Researched and written by L M Seaton.


The Sydenham Cemetery records give his address as The Military Sanitorium and his occupation as Retired soldier aged 29. The Sanitorium was established on the Cashmere Hills in 1918 and closed in 1922

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Lance Corporal Arthur Leslie Cooper

First Names:Arthur Leslie
Last Name:Cooper
Date of Birth:3 May 1891
Place of Birth:Christchurch
Date of Death:28 June 1920
Place of Death:Christchurch
Memorial or Cemetery:Christchurch, (Sydenham) Cemetery, block 41 lot 17
Age at death:29
User Name:L M Seaton
Occupation before enlisting:Farm Labourer
Marital Status:Single
Nominal Roll:page 147
Regiment or Service:New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Enlistment details:29 May 1915
Parents or Next of Kin:Son of Arthur and Clara Jane Cooper
Service Number:24/723
Rank last held:Lance Corporal
Embarkation:9 October 1915
Place of Embarkation:Wellington
Transport:Maunganui or Tahiti or Aparima or Navua or Warrimoo
Theatres of War:Egypt, Western Front
Cause of Death:Died of tuberculosis
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License
Lance Corporal Arthur Leslie Cooper by Selwyn Library is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License