Private J Stephens

Private J Stephens, service number unknown, 2nd Royal Dorsets.

Private J Stephens, service number unknown, 2nd Royal Dorsets.

The Co-operative News printed an article on 2 January 1915 with an update of the health of Co-operative Wholesale Society employee Private J Stephens. He was reported to have spent a month in a French hospital nursing a wounded leg, but having made a recovery, had continued fighting on the Western Front.

Throughout the war the Co-operative News continued to update its readers about the involvement of co-operative society members in the war. The early articles were detailed accounts of members’ activities and, as in the case of Private Stephens, related to injuries only. As the war went on and casualties amounted, it was often necessary to print long lists of fatalities, often consisting only of the fallen’s name and place of work. It was no longer possible to print individual personal accounts.


Co-operative News, 2 January 1915, page 19.

WWI co-operative voices

This post is part of ‘WWI co-operative voices’ which shares the stories of co-operative workers and members during the conflict. In order to mark the centenary of the WWI, the Rochdale Pioneers Museum is staging an exhibition entitled ‘From shop floor to front line’ and the accounts of these soldiers, shop workers and conscientious objectors will run alongside it. They are tales of death, duty and of those who chose not to fight.

Through ‘WWI co-operative voices’ we will be releasing new posts about these individuals throughout the duration of the exhibition (due to open mid-May 2015 and run until May 2016). Read about the co-operative movement’s involvement in a war that shook the world by selecting a name from the column on the left. You can also follow us on social media for regular updates.

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We wish to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting the ‘From shop floor to front line’ exhibition and project.