ROOPER, Ralph Bonfoy – Gresford War Memorial

Written and researched by Mavis Williams

Conductor ROOPER Ralph Bonfoy. Croix de Guerre with Palm (France). French Red Cross Society, also British Committee. Died 29th May 1918 Age 23. Born Chester, Cheshire, England. Son of Percy L & Alics Nancy Rooper, of Little Court, Speldhurst, Kent, England. Brother of William Victor Trevor Rooper.

Ralph Bonfoy Rooper (brother of William Victor Trevor ROOPER) was born circa 1894 and was baptised on the 29th July 1894 at St. Marys-on-the-Hill, Chester, Cheshire, England, the son of Percy Lens and Alice Nancy Rooper, (Bishop’s Transcripts).    Percy Lens Rooper and Alice Nancy Royden had married in the June Quarter of 1889 in West Derby, Liverpool (W. Derby Vol.  8b, Page 717).

Ralph’s first appearance is on the 1901 census, where he is shown living with his parents at 3, Sandown Terrace, Chester Castle, Chester, Cheshire.    Head of the household was Percy Lens Rooper, 39, a Ship Owner & Manager (Nav. Shop) and Employer who had been born in Uppingham, Rutland.   His wife Alice N., 34 had been born in Liverpool, Lancashire.   Their children at home were Ralph B., age 6 and younger brother William V. age 3, both born in Chester, Cheshire.   There were 4 servants in the household, including a Governess.

Ralph had an older brother, John Royden Rooper, age 10, who had also been born in Chester on the 1901 census, but had been born in Kirkdale, Liverpool on the 1891 census.   He was a Boarder and Scholar at Bilton Grange, Rugby, Warwickshire. (Photo age 2 )

By the 1911 census Ralph is seen as a patient in a School Sanitorium – Charterhouse, Sanatorium, Peperharow Road, Godalming.   He is described as a Resident Schoolboy, age 16.

Ralph Bonfoy Rooper in the British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920 tells us that he was a Chauffeus (FRX : Dvr) for the British Red Cross Society, and the Royal Fusiliers and he was awarded the Victory & British War Medals and the 15 Star.   His first Theatre of War was not stated but he entered one on the 24th April 1915.

Ralph Bonfoy Rooper in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 – ROOPER, Ralph Bonfoy of Little Court, Spelhurst, Kent died 29th May 1918 at Chateau of Gerlux near Marfax Rheims, France.   Administration London 9th October to John Royden ROOPER, Company Director.   Effects £12961 18s.

Also on the same page was his mother’s Will:-

ROOPER, Alice Nancy of Little Court, Spelhurst, Kent Widow died 7th January 1952.   Probate London 11th March to John Royden ROOPER, Company Director and Frederick ADDISON-BELL Chartered Accountant.   Effects £32667 10s 6d.

Ralph Bonfoy Rooper in the England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976

Name:  Ralph Bonfoy Rooper

Death Date:        29 May 1918 (see Folder)

On the website “Global, Find A Grave Index for Burials at Sea and other Select Burial Locations, 1300s-Current.”

There is a bio written by author “Sandra”, many thanks to her, which gives a wonderful insight into Ralph and his character –

Ralph Bonfoy Rooper the second son of Mr and Mrs P.L Rooper, Little Court Speldhurst was born at Chester, July 3rd 1894. He was educated at Charterhouse and New College Oxford, where he was an Undergraduate and a Scholar of his College at the time of the declaration of War. In April 1915 he joined the “Friends Ambulance Unit” and served as Motor Ambulance Driver with that body and with the Scottish Branch of the Croix Rouge Francaise in the years 1915, 1917 and 1918. He was rejected for the Army on account of his health and served for some time in 1916 in the Ministry of Munitions and the Admiralty. He went out again to France in May 1917 and was present at various actions near Poperinghe, Ypres, Soissons and Rheims. He was killed at Gueux near Rheims on May 29th 1918 while acting as Conducteur SSA of the Croix Rouge Francaise. He was awarded the “Croix de Geurre avec Palme” and is buried at Marvaux near Rheims.

Note: Commander, French Red Cross Society. Age: 23.

St Mary the Virgin Church

Photo of St. Mary the Virgin and the Plaque by Susan M S.

Any information that will add to his story would be gratefully received.

Researched and compiled by Mavis Williams

Pic by John Davies 19/04/2014

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