Ernest was born in Stourbridge in 1894, the son of William and Ellen Cooper. In 1901, they were living at 30 Terrace Street, Brierley Hill, together with Ernest’s siblings William H. and Lillian R.
There is an Ernest Cooper, apparently born in Wolverhampton in about 1893, who is with the 2nd Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment at Whittington Barracks by 1911, and this seems the most likely man. Prior to enlistment he worked at Bayliss, Jones and Bayliss, but he certainly enlisted with the South Staffordshire Regiment at some point (service number 3264).
An article appeared in the Express & Star on 14 August 1915 that a “Private A. E. Cooper”, whose home was now 69 Steelhouse Lane, Wolverhampton, had been killed in action in France on 29 July 1915. Despite the transposition of initials, this is definitely the same man. He is remembered at the Larch Wood (Railway Cutting) Cemetery in Belgium.