Henry James Cooley was born in Carisbrooke on the Isle of Wight on 13th July 1876. He was the middle child of seven, all boys except for his sister Vashti. His father, George, was a warder at Parkhurst prison; quite a step up from the labouring of previous generations of Cooleys.

Young Harry was determined not to become a prison warder and was apprenticed to a stonemason by the time he was 14 years old. He is said to have run away to sea at 16, worked as a cook on (probably) a collier between Newport, Isle of Wight and Newport, Monmouthshire, and jumped ship to join the Royal Field Artillery with his older brother, George, at Colchester. Whatever happened, his indenture as an apprentice was cancelled so that he could join the RFA.

Henrietta Maud Osborn was born on 16th February 1879 in Colchester, the seventh child of ten born to shoemaker, James Bradshaw Osborn, and his wife, Naomi Newitt.

The images will take you to, respectively, Harry's army career and their shared family life.
Harry at 19
Harry at 19
Het at 18
Het at 18