Leeds church hunts for relatives of teen killed on railway

IN MEMORY: The plaque was recently given to the church after being lost or stolen for many years.
IN MEMORY: The plaque was recently given to the church after being lost or stolen for many years.
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A Leeds church is hunting for the relatives of a teenager killed on the railway more than a century ago after a brass memorial plaque was found.

Edmund Cooper, who lived at 41 Chelmsford Avenue, Dial Street in Leeds, was 17 and working as a signal lamp boy for the North Eastern Railway Company when he died on May 27, 1902. The officers and lads of the St. Hilda’s Church branch of the Church Lads Brigade, in Cross Green, Leeds, provided the plaque in his memory but it was lost or possibly stolen from its site.

The memorial came to light earlier this year having been in the custody of West Yorkshire Police for many years.

The church would now like to hang the plaque either in the church or community room and are hoping that later generations of Mr Cooper’s family, who may still be living in the city, will get in touch so that they can be invited to a service in his memory.

According to the YEP’s report of the inquest, Edmund was at the signal post at Killingbeck when he was knocked down and killed instantly by a London to Leeds express train.

It was believed that he was trying to cross the line, but because a strong wind was blowing he had not heard the train approaching, or its whistle being sounded. He is believed to have been the fourth of six children of George and Elizabeth Cooper.

St. Hilda’s Parish Priest Father Darren Percival said: “It would be wonderful to meet any of Edmund Cooper’s relatives if they are still in Leeds. When I picked up the plaque from the police it was black with dirt, but a bit of polish revealed the name.”

Call Fr Darren on 07960 555609.