Born in England to John and Elizabeth Cooper, Francis came to Australia about 1910. He had served with the London Territorials for three years prior to emigrating. He was working as a Farm Labourer at Little Plain near Inverell when he enlisted in November 1915, agreeing to serve from 12 January 1916. At the age of twenty two he joined with The First Contingent of The Kurrajongs which left Inverell that day.
As a member of the 33rd Battalion he trained at Armidale and Rutherford prior to leaving Australia in May on the HMAT A74 Marathon. Further training was undertaken in England at Salisbury Plain. In November his Battalion was sent to the Western Front where he was killed going to the front line at Messines, Belgium on 11 July 1917. Private Cooper was buried at Bethlehem Farm West Cemetery, Messines. The Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Files contain reports of his death with a description by Private George Cartwright, 33rd Battalion, as follows:-‘He was known as ‘Tich’. Was thick set and of small stature. He had a springy walk and always smoked a bent stem pipe.’
Private Francis Cooper’s name is inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph and Honor Roll. He was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Avenue in 1919. His name is also on the Mt Russell Honour Roll at Delungra NSW.