COOPER, Cato George
(Service number 23/1598)

First Rank Rifleman Last Rank


Date 18 June 1882 Place of Birth Winchester

Enlistment Information

Date 20 October 1915 Age 33 years
Address at Enlistment Cape Runaway
Occupation Labourer
Previous Military Experience
Marital Status
Next of Kin Mrs S. M. E. COOPER (mother), St Albans, Christchurch; later Hancocks Lane, off Normand Road, Papanui, Christchurch
Religion Church of England
Medical Information

Military Service

Served with NZ Armed Forces Served in Army
Military District

Embarkation Information

Body on Embarkation New Zealand Rifle Brigade
Unit, Squadron, or Ship 3rd Reinforcements, 1st Battalion, E Company
Date 8 January 1916
Transport Tahiti or Warrimoo
Embarked From Wellington Destination Suez, Egypt
Other Units Served With
Last Unit Served With

Military Awards

Campaigns Egyptian; Egyptian E.F.; Western European
Service Medals British War Medal; Victory Medal
Military Awards

Award Circumstances and Date

No information

Prisoner of War Information

Date of Capture
Where Captured and by Whom
Actions Prior to Capture
PoW Serial Number
PoW Camps
Days Interned
Liberation Date


Date 28 March 1919 Reason No longer physically fit for Active Service (Delusional insanity).

Hospitals, Wounds, Diseases and Illnesses

Post-war Occupations


Date 17 November 1959 Age 77 years
Place of Death Te Awamutu
Memorial or Cemetery Te Awamutu Cemetery
Memorial Reference Block 1A, Plot 2
New Zealand Memorials

Biographical Notes

Cato George Cooper was born on 18 June 1882 at Winchester, South Canterbury, the eldest son of Richard Alfred Cooper and his second wife, Sarah Maud Ethel née White. He was admitted to St Albans School, Christchurch, in January 1891, having come from Orari School. His last day was 9 April 1894, it being recorded that he was going back to Orari School.

Cato George Cooper and two mates were, in June 1894, convicted on charges of stealing and ordered to receive twelve strokes of the birch. There was an application to have them committed to the Burnham Industrial School and, after the parents’ statements were heard, they were committed. This was not Cato’s first, nor his last, appearance in court. In April 1894, when he was accused of discharging an air gun in St Albans, he was severely cautioned and discharged. So, 12-year-old Cato G. Cooper was admitted to Burnam Industrial School on 29 June 1894. He was still there throughout 1895. In December 1903 at Ashburton, Cato George Cooper made another court appearance. He was charged with indecent assault o a servant girl at Mayfield. At the Supreme Court hearing at Timaru in February following, he pleaded not guilty and was found not guilty by the jury.

From 1905 till 1908, Cato Cooper was a farm hand at Wheatstone in the Ashburton district, and from 1908 till 1911 he resided at The Timaru Hotel and was doing labourering work. In 1911 he moved to Maunganui-a-te-au in the Bay of Plenty, where he wasa bushman. It was in 1914 that he moved to Cape Runaway. At a medical examination of recruits for the reinforcements, held on 14 September 1915, Cato G. Cooper, of Cape Runaway, was passed fit. He enlisted on 20 October 1915 at Trentham, naming his mother as next-of-kin – Mrs S. M. E. Cooper, St Albans, Christchurch, and later of 11 Hancocks Lane, off Normans Road, Papanui, Christchurch. Rifleman C. G. Cooper embarked with the New Zealand Rifle Brigade of the 3rd Reinforcements, departing from Wellington for Suez, Egypt, on 8 January 1916. He embarked for the return to New Zealand by the “Marama” at Southampton on 19 December 1918. The Hospital Ship “Marama” arrived in late January 1919, being due at Lyttelton on 30 January, that intended to be her last trip. He was discharged on 28 March 1919, being no longer physically fit for Active Service (Delusionary insanity). Cato Cooper gave service in Egypt and Western Europe, for which he received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

In 1928 Cato was a labourer at Aakopae. Thereafter, he seems to be off the scene. Perhaps he was in an institution? Cato George Cooper died on 17 November 1959 at Te Awamutu, from Tokanui, aged 77 years. He was buried in the RSA section of Te Awamutu Cemetery. His brother, Eric John Morley Cooper, also served in World War One.


Auckland War Memorial Museumm Cenotaph Database [16 July 2022]; School Admission record (Canterbury Branch NZSG) [16 July 2022]; Industrial School Nominal Rolls [16 July 2022]; NZ Electoral Rolls ( [16 July 2022]; Te Awamutu Cemetery record (Waipa District Council) [16 July 2022]; Star, 29 June 1894, NZ Herald, 15 September 1915 (Papers Past) [16 July 2022]

External Links

Related Documents

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Researched and Written by

Teresa Scott, Teresa Scott, South Canterbury Genealogy Society

Currently Assigned to

Not assigned.

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