Rank: Lance Sergeant
Regiment or Ship: 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers.
Service Number(s): 15733
Date of Birth: 1879 (Christened 4th May 1879).
Place of Birth: Forest Row, Sussex (near West Hoathly).
Date of Death: 04.09.1954
Place of Death: Isle of Wight, Hampshire. Place of Burial / Memorials:
Address: Beaconsfield Road Bexhill and 158 St James Road Bermondsey, London (service records),
Photos and newspaper articles
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William John Coppard married Emily “Popsie” Perman on 12th September, 1898, in the Old Town Church, in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex.
George Coppard, born in 1850 in West Hoathly, Sussex and Ellen Elizabeth Baker, born in 1851 in East Grinstead, Sussex. They were married in East Grinstead, in late 1874.
George Coppard born 1871, in West Hoathly, Sussex. W0188 COPPARD George
Ellen (Nellie) Coppard born 1874, in West Hoathly, Sussex.
Sarah Ann Coppard born 1877, in West Hoathly, Sussex.
Thomas Henry Coppard born 1884, in Battle, Sussex. W0189 COPPARD Thomas Henry
Albert Victor Coppard 12th March 1887 and baptized on 3rd Jul 1887, in Ripe, Sussex. W0186 COPPARD Albert Victor
Mabel Jane Coppard born 1889, in Lewes, Sussex.
Edith Coppard born 1893, in Lewes, Sussex.
Edward Harold Coppard born 1896, in Burgess Hill, Sussex. W0187 COPPARD Edward Harold
Children of William John and Emily “Popsie” Perman:-
William John Coppard, born 20th July 1899, in Kensington, Middlesex – died in 1987, in Hillingdon, Middlesex.
Albert Edward Coppard, born 26th July 1901, in Greenwich; died 18th January 1967.
Ernest George Coppard, born 8th September 1903, in Ramsgate, Kent; died 1967.
Arthur Reginald Coppard, born 13th October 1907, in East Grinstead, Sussex; died 7th March 1998, aged 90, in Bournemouth, Hampshire.
Gladys Lillian Coppard, born on 17th October 1911, in Bermondsey, London, died 2nd April 2004, in Hemel Hempstead.
First World War Experience
William enlisted with the 9th Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, on 25th September 1914, at Neath, in South Wales.
His service records say that he served in France, from July 15th, 1915 until 1919 – Infantry.
1915 January 1st William was inoculated against typhoid, twice, and on 16th March was vaccinated.
1915 July 19th – He embarked at Folkestone landing at Boulogne, in France.
1915 November 3rd, he was appointed as a Lance-Corporal (Paid), in the field.
1915 November 19th he was promoted Corporal.
1916 December 23rd December, he was appointed Lance Sergeant (unpaid).
In 1917, he was granted leave in England from 22nd June to 2nd July.
1918 March 22nd William was wounded in action when he received gunshot wounds in both legs.
1918 March 30th. He was so badly injured that he was transported to a hospital in England on the Hospital Ship, “Pieter de Connick”, (one of four Belgian Government Mail Steamers used as Ambulance Transports).
1918 March 31st William was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital, in Halifax, in Yorkshire suffering from “Shrapnel in both legs”.
1918 May 8th – He was discharged.
1918 May 19th William was posted to the 3rd battalion.
1918 September 7th, William, so his records say, was in Limerick, in Ireland, having artificial teeth fitted.
1919 August 5th William wrote to the military authorities, claiming a pension for wounds he said he had received in July 1917. His Army Form 179a records the claim as follows:
“He states that a shell exploded near and took him off his feet about 15th July and since frequently went to his Regimental H. O. for treatment for pains in chest and shortness of breath. Did not go into hospital but was given light duty. Continued to serve until demobilized March 1919.”
“No documentary evidence in support of man’s statement”
“Demobilized March 1919.”
What we know about the 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers is that their first action was at Pietre, in a diversionary action supporting the Battle of Loos.
In 1916, they were in action during the Battle of the Somme, capturing La Boisselle and being involved in the attacks on High Wood, The Battles of Pozieres Ridge, the Ancre Heights, and the Ancre.
In 1917, they were in action in The Battle of Messines and the Third Battles of Ypres.
In 1918, they fought on The Somme during The Battle of St Quentin and The Battle of Bapaume and in the Battles of the Lys at Messines, Bailleul and The First Battle of Kemmel Ridge. They fought in The Battle of the Aisne and during the Final Advance in Picardy they were in action in The Battle of the Selle, The Battle of the Sambre and the passage of the Grand Honelle.
At the Armistice, they were in billets near Bavay. Demobilisation of the 9th, began in December 1918 and the final cadres returned to England on the 27th of June 1919.
William would have been with the 9th on most of these conflicts.
Regarding his behaviour, his “Company Conduct Sheet” (Army form B 122) lists only two offences – the first on 11th January 1916 when he was reprimanded for having a dirty lanyard and the second, on 25th September 1916 when he was severely reprimanded for being absent from his billet when attending hospital.
Another form, his “Squadron, Troop, Battery and Company Conduct Sheet” (Army Form B. 121), shows that he was “Absent off parade at 7.45 am until found in his barrack room at 9.40 p.m. (13 hours 55 minutes)”. For this offence, he was, again, reprimanded but also forfeited one day’s pay. He is reported, however, to have never been drunk.
William enlisted with the 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers on 25th September 1914, at Neath, in South Wales but there is a bit of a mystery surrounding his address. When he was examined for a pension, in March 1919, he gave his last employer as “Postmaster, Neath, South Wales”. From that statement, he would appear to have been a postman, in South Wales, but he gave his “Permanent home address” as 158, St. James Road, Bermondsey, London, S E.1. on many other forms.
According to his Army Medical History sheet, William was 5 feet 8 inches tall, which was a good height in those days. He was 13st. 8lb (86 kgs) in weight.
His chest, when expanded, was 43 1/2 inches, which compared with so many other service records was very large.
It, also, stated that he had “a congenital scar” on both of his sides but what these were is unclear.
The opinion of the Medical Board, when assessing his disability, stated, “General Condition. Very obese. Weighs nearly 16 stone in clothing. Pulse 120 when at rest. Rises to 130 in exertion. Heart not enlarged. Sounds are not impaired. No murmurs are present. Changes are normal.”
It also stated that, in the opinion of the Board, his disabilities were attributable to his war service so he was granted a pension – the decision of those reviewing the pension, on 20th April 1920, was as follows:-
“6/- from 18 April 1919 to 2nd September 1919 with bonus then 8/8 from 3rd September 1919 to 20 April 1920. In lieu of last award.”
There were five Coppard brothers serving in the forces in WW1 as report in the “Bexhill Observer”, dated 28th October 1916:-
COUNCILLOR’S FIVE SONS SERVING
Councillor and Mrs G. Coppard, of Beaconsfield-road, have five sons serving. They are George Coppard, sergeant-instructor, R. F. A.; William F. Coppard, corporal, 9th Royal Welsh Fusiliers; Albert Victor Coppard, corporal 2nd Royal Sussex Regiment; Thomas H. Coppard, private, 11th Middlesex Regiment; Edward H. Coppard, private, Royal Suffolk Cyclist Corps.