The men riding in this picture are called "Drivers". They would have to be excellent horsemen. They are guiding the 6 horses as they pull tons of steel.
I mentioned earlier that many of the grooms of Montreal followed the young officers into the war. These are the Allan stables.
Imagine how I felt today as I reread the only letter home that we have from Alec. This is written on Nov 5th, only a few days after landing in England after a month on board and the day after being inspected by the King.
"I have a groom called Cooper, an English boy who was with Uncle Montagu, he is a wonder... (We then unfortunately miss the page that carries on.)
So who was "Cooper"?
I first of all went to a book that has the names of all the men who shipped out with the First Contingent. (List of officers and men serving in the First Canadian Contingent of the British Expeditionary Force, 1914.)
In the section on Alec's battery there is only one Cooper. Harold E Cooper, Driver, 41058. It is likely that Harold is "Cooper". Right job to have to also be groom. You would not be a Driver in 1914 if you did not know how to ride really well.
Then I wondered if Harold had survived the war. It looks like he did for there is only one Harold Cooper listed as dead and he was 20 in 1917 and so, I think too young to have joined in 1914. He also had a different number, 313867, and was in the 3rd Division Ammunition Column.
So here is to hoping that Harold E Cooper made it home in one piece.
I list his name and number in the hope that some day, a member of his family will be searching and find this. This has worked before with Ned Slattery. This link will take you to a page where I ask for help and get it. The comments are simply wonderful as his family pile in and answer so many questions.
An intrepid reseracher friend has found this - Harold Edward Cooper was 'invalided to Canada for future treatment'. The signatures of Murray McNaughton, E Gerald Hanson and John Angus McDonald, all officers with the 'Westmount" Battery, are on his attestation paper signed Sept '14 at Valcartier. MWA McNaughton, who had just graduated McGill in medicine, worked for Hanson Bros brokerage after the war. There were three Hansons in 2 Bde, all stockbrokers.