Thomas Vernon Coates was born on 13th January 1894 in Macclesfield, the son of Kate Coates of Parker Street. He was unofficially adopted by Police Constable William H. Hooley and his wife Martha, who were living at 17 Union Street, Macclesfield in 1901, and took their surname as an addition to his own - he was usually known as Vernon Coates Hooley.
In 1911, Vernon was still boarding with the family, at 70 Prestbury Road, and employed as a stationery shop assistant at Boots in Manchester. His adoptive siblings included twins Harry and Frank Hooley (aged 22 in 1911), Edith Annie (13), Frederick (8) and George Edward (6 months).
Vernon Coates Hooley attested at Macclesfield during the first week of September 1914, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.
Following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir. By the end of the day, Private Hooley was missing and he was later assumed to have died on 9th August 1915.
The Macclesfield Times reported that Private Hooley was missing on 1 October 1915:
MISSING MEN: anxious relatives in Macclesfield - Official intimation has been received on Saturday by Inspector Hooley, of the Macclesfield Police Force, who resides at 70 Prestbury Rd, that his son, Private Vernon Hooley, of “C” Company, 7th Cheshire Regt., now serving in the Dardanelles, is reported missing. From private enquiries Inspector Hooley learns that his son has been missing since the landing of the Battalion at Suvla Bay. He is naturally very anxious to ascertain his whereabouts, and would be glad of any information that other members of the Battalion may be able to give.
Private Vernon Hooley has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 75 to 77 on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Private Thomas Hooley, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
In Macclesfield, Private Vernon Hooley is commemorated on the Park Green, Town Hall, St Michael's Church, and St Paul's Church war memorials.
Vernon was the adopted brother of Harry Hooley, who served with the Royal Engineers and Frank Hooley, who was a Conscientious Objector and served with the Non-Combatant Corps. Both survived the war.
Research by Rosie Rowley, Macclesfield.