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Thread: RAF Pilot James Cooper, KIA 1945 - Rank Identity/Confirmation, Please?

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    Default RAF Pilot James Cooper, KIA 1945 - Rank Identity/Confirmation, Please?

    Hi, folks! I have a quest to complete for a friend, in identifying the rank and squadron of the Pilot in this photo, if anyone might be able to help, please?

    We know the RAF Officer's name was James Cooper, which ought to help, we hoped...but as you'll imagine, there are a lot of James Coopers' listed on records.

    However, we have a couple of clues: he survived WW2 in Bomber Command flying Lancasters toward the latter half of the war, and my friend remembers seeing a copy of a magazine with Cooper on the cover, pictured elbow-out of a Lancaster cockpit window, with a large Mouse nose-art painted right below him (might be the famous "Mickey The Moocher" of 61 Sqdn, but not certain). Cooper also refused to marry his sweetheart until WW2 was all over. This he did between September and December 1945...but very tragically, he was killed in a flight accident just two weeks after marrying!

    As far as records show, the chap we're asking after was believed to have married a lady whose maiden name could have been Hoskins, but I can't trace any further forward than that; the wedding may have taken place in the Bristol area (according to Births, Marriages & Death records, if this is the same person) - and as you'll see from the photo scans, there's a Wedding Photographer's ink stamp on the rear, also in Bristol.
    So far so good - but can anyone identify and rank the Officer in question, please?






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    Hello,

    The COOPER that flew on No.61 Sqn. Lancaster EE176 "Mickey the Moocher", was (Nav.) F/Sgt Laurie A COOPER RAFVR.

    You will find a photo of the airman (unnamed), with his elbow hanging out of the cockpit window, in the following publication (no scanner):

    Ton-Up Lancs:A Photographic History of the Thirty-Five RAF Lancasters that each completed One Hundred Sorties.
    Franks,Norman.
    London:Grub Street,2005.
    p102.

    See also: http://www.no-50-and-no-61-squadrons...-mouritz-raaf/

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 14th February 2015 at 23:13.

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    Could he be P/O James Leslie Cooper DFC, formerly a Pilot with 106sqdn.
    Last edited by AlanW; 15th February 2015 at 06:08.

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    Possibly, AlanW - but only if P/O J L Cooper was killed in an air crash in 1945-47; have you any further information on him, please?

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    There's a James Leslie Cooper on the National Probate Calendar, of Anerley, Kent, died at Luqa Aerodrome, Malta on August 14th 1946. Possibly BOAC Dakota G-AGHT?

    The National Probate Calendar gives the administration on January 7th 1947 to Aileen Jean Cooper and Jane Fanny Beatrice Cooper, both widows. One his wife and the other his mother, perhaps?

    FreeBMD gives a James L Cooper marrying Aileen Richardson, registered in Bristol in the July-September 1946 registration period.

    Simon

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    Simon,
    I think you are probably on the right track with this, from what was in the initial post.

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    Fantastic find, Simon! Many thanks indeed! I can back-track up my friend's family tree a bit (I hope!) to confirm if Jane Fanny Beatrice Cooper was his Mother (as would seem likely in this instance), and report back when confirmed or otherwise...

    I have to say, though, that from the information everyone has gathered and posted so far (and also on the WW2 Talk Forum), it would seem almost certain that we are talking about P/O James Leslie Cooper, who married in either late July or early August 1946, then tragically perished in the BOAC Dakota G-AGHT crash at Luqa, Malta on August 14th 1946, when one of the Dak's engines cut out from fuel starvation (wrong tank selected, the report states) and the Pilot (Cooper) attempted an immediate emergency landing, but the aircraft crashed hard; his crew escaped, but he perished... What a tragic waste...

    The dates of the marriage and his untimely death are too much of a coincidence for there to be two or more Coopers suffering the same fate, so I'm going to accept that collectively, you've found the right one. I'll collate all this information and report back, with print-outs of all the items you've generously linked here.

    Cheers, chaps!
    Last edited by Barry L; 15th February 2015 at 19:25. Reason: Updated with extra information from another forum...

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    Barry,

    If the airman is in fact, 111552 James Leslie COOPER DFC RAFVR, the following might be of interest:

    24/25 Apr 1944
    No.617 Sqn.
    Lancaster I DV394:KC-M
    Op: Munchen

    T/o 2051 Woodhall Spa. Homebound, shot down from 25,000 feet by a night-fighter piloted by Hptm Gerhard Raht, 4./NJG3 and crashed 0243 twixt Tigerfeld and Aichstetten, 5km NW of Zweifalten, where F/O Harden was buried. On 20 August 1948, his remains were reinterred in Durnbach War Cemetery. F/O Lepine RCAF had flown in the Middle East with 150 Squadron his DFM being published on 27 April 1943. All three recipients of the DFC had served on 106 Squadron, their awards being promulgated on 14 January, 12 March and 10 September 1943 respectively.

    F/L J L Cooper DFC - PoW
    F/O T W Clarkson - PoW
    F/L F E Drew DFC - PoW
    F/O G J Harden DFC +
    F/O J H C A Lepine DFM RCAF - PoW
    F/O A E Pelly - PoW
    F/O F J Tucker - PoW

    See: Bomber Command Losses Vol.5/Chorley. p.190

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 15th February 2015 at 22:11.

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    Barry,

    There is one other piece of information you need to know!

    (Photo) Far right, top.

    The motif on Lancaster I W4118/'ZN-Y' of 106 Squadron at Syerston, early November 1942 "Adimral Prune" was often used by Wg Cdr Guy Gibson, the squadron CO, or his "B" Flight Commander Sqn Ldr John 'Dim' Wooldridge; the smiling face in the cockpit is that of P Off Jimmy Cooper. The white bomb symbol generally indicated a daylight raid. Because the Squadron often dropped sea mines (known as 'Gardening') and at the time naval officers were attached to the unit, it took a nautical stance with several of the aircraft displaying "Admiral" prefixed nicknames. "Admiral Prune" flew 640 hours before being lost on the Turin raid on 4/5/February 1943. (Picture source, MOI).

    The Royal Air Force of World War Two in Colour.
    Freeman,Roger A.
    London:Arms & Armour Press,1993.
    pp.38-9.

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 16th February 2015 at 04:58.

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    Hi Barry - The portrait is of my brother's Dad and my late Mum's first husband: F/L James Leslie Cooper - 106 Sq. He was not actually KIA, but was shot down as reported below and spent the rest of the war in Stalag Luft III. He married our Mum, Aileen, in Bristol and sadly, did die in Malta as also reported below, three weeks after the wedding. I need to put you in touch with my brother to answer your questions - he is actually going to be visiting the site of Stalag Luft III later this week. I'll direct him to this site.
    Last edited by SusanG15; 19th March 2015 at 02:34. Reason: Clarification

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