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Thread: Flight Sergeant Richard Cooper (1585422) - 102 Squadron

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    Default Flight Sergeant Richard Cooper (1585422) - 102 Squadron

    Hi,

    I have started to research my Grandfather's war records. I received his record of service on Friday. As I am a newcomer to this sort of thing I was hoping that people on here would be able to give me advice/pointers on where to next please as we explore new avenues of enquiry. The copy of the records were quite poor quality in parts but nonetheless I was able to extract some information.

    Flight Sergeant Richard OJ Cooper (1585422) served the majority of his time in WW2 in 102 Squadron. I believe he was a navigator. He joined on 28/09/43.

    He then went to 635 Squadron on 25/06/1944. Looks like he had an incident as the record states "Admit Hosp" on 07/08/1944. He then moved to 640 Squadron on 15/11/1944 where he served until the end of the war. After the war, he returned to the RAF and spent a number of years at bases in the UK, Germany and Kenya.

    I have very little information apart from this as he passed away in 1992. Our family knew that he was in the RAF but knew little about what he did other that he was a navigator on Halifaxes during the war.

    Thanks for any advice/tips on this matter.

    Regards,

    Toby Cooper

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    Toby,
    I can help ou out with his time with 635sqdn, and his first op with them was on 18th July 44 to Cagny. Will look further for rest of his ops with the squadron and get back to you.
    Alan.

    I've found 6 ops for him with 635sqdn,
    18/7, Cagny.
    4/8, Trossy.
    18/8, Ghent.
    25/8, Russelheim.
    29/8, Stettin.
    3/9, Soest.
    He did not fly on any more ops with the Squadron after this, and from the fact that he did not fly on as many ops as the other crews in the squadron, and his disappearance from 3rd Sept until his posting out on 15th Nov, i wonder if he may have been a Navigation Leader !
    Last edited by AlanW; 15th February 2015 at 08:35.

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    Wow, Alan. Thanks so much for this information. I have found out more over the past three days than ever before!

    I was quite amazed when I realised that 635 Squadron was a Pathfinder squadron as we never knew that he flew in Lancasters. Your point about the Navigation Leader is a very interesting one indeed. Thank you.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanW View Post
    Toby,
    I can help ou out with his time with 635sqdn, and his first op with them was on 18th July 44 to Cagny. Will look further for rest of his ops with the squadron and get back to you.
    Alan.

    I've found 6 ops for him with 635sqdn,
    18/7, Cagny.
    4/8, Trossy.
    18/8, Ghent.
    25/8, Russelheim.
    29/8, Stettin.
    3/9, Soest.
    He did not fly on any more ops with the Squadron after this, and from the fact that he did not fly on as many ops as the other crews in the squadron, and his disappearance from 3rd Sept until his posting out on 15th Nov, i wonder if he may have been a Navigation Leader !

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    R.O.J. Cooper was a bomb aimer.
    Crew at 640 Sq:
    Pilot P/O C.C. Povey finally F/Lt.
    F/E T.R. Neafsey
    Nav. D.F. Bottom
    Air B. R.O.J. Cooper
    Wop. E.A. Lovett
    A/G. E.P.J. McCarthy (N.D. MacDonald from 14/2/45)
    A/G J. Drummie

    Ops: 18/11/44 Munster (Halifax NP996)
    29/11/44 Essen (MZ931)
    30/11/44 Duisburg (MZ931) non starter
    2-3/12/44 Hagen (NP997)
    5-6/12/44 Soest (NP997)
    22/12/44 Bingen (MZ404)
    28/12/44 Opladen (NA222)
    29/12/44 Koblentz (NR237) landed at Woodbridge emergency aerodrome
    1/1/45 Dortmund (NR237)
    6/1/45 Hanau (NP997)
    16-17/1/45 Magdeburg (NP997) early return
    22-23/1/45 Gelsenkirchen (NR237)
    28-29/1/45 Stuttgart (MZ492)
    7-8/2/45 Goch (MZ494) Aborted attack on orders of Master Bomber
    9/2/45 Wanne-Eikel (MZ494)
    13-14/2/45 Bohlen (MZ404)
    21/2/45 Worms (PN184)
    27/2/45 Mainz (PN184)
    3-4/3/45 Kamen (PN184)
    5-6/3/45 Chemnitz (PN184) landed Manston emergency aerodrome
    24/3/45 Gladbeck (PN184) Source No.640 (Halifax) Squadron - Bill Norman

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    John,

    Thank you so much for this detail.

    Just wondering:
    * The Goch raid was aborted by the Master Bomber. Do you know when this happened whether that trip was counted or not when it came to the number of operations? Presumably they got close to the target but then had to abort.
    * Would the bomb aimer have also been trained as a navigator? It has been a long time since my grandfather passed away but we were always under the impression that he was a navigator.

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    As far as I know Goch would have counted. I will leave the differences between Navs, AirBs & NavBs to those with greater expertise.

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    Hi Toby

    Your Grandfather’s time with 102 Squadron has me a little confused, he arrives in September 43 and departs in June 44 but in that time he and the rest of his crew only look to have flown 3 ops, all in April. The pilot is shown as being posted away from December 43 until March 44 for some unknown reason and this obviously contributes to the delay but it still seems a long time for them to be kicking their heels before their first op.

    9/4/44 to Lille in JD421
    22/4/44 to Laon in JN919
    23/4/44 minelaying in HX153. Overshot runway on landing.

    The crew are posted out in June without flying again.


    Pilot F/S W Hennys
    Nav F/S D Bottom
    W/Op W/O P White
    A/G Sgt G McRitchie
    A/G Sgt W Burton 9/4/44 and 22/4/44 — Sgt J Waugh 23/4/44
    Eng Sgt T Neafsey
    A/B F/S ROJ Cooper

    It all got a bit complicated when the Observer trade was replaced with Air Bombers and Navigators of various types and training was changing constantly throughout the war. W/C C G Jefford in his book on Observers and Navigators briefly covers the A/B’s role, lots of ‘Ifs and Buts’, but generally speaking, when the Air Bomber trade was introduced in July 42 their duties were: Bombing, map reading plus gunnery in an emergency. Also to act as pilot’s assistant where no Flight Engineer was established to do so, i.e. fly straight and level and be able to steer a course. Although this part of their training would be dropped by May/June 44.
    Air Bombers would typically undergo six weeks training at a Bombing and Gunnery School followed by six weeks at an Air Navigation School before moving on to an OTU and then HCU.


    Rgds

    Pete

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    Hi Pete,

    Thanks very much for this information! Was thinking that maybe he did a few more missions than this......as you say this is a little confusing. I am puzzled as to why this may be. Would it be an administrative error? I don't know if the logbooks are floating around anywhere though, my Dad is going to do some digging.

    Toby

    Quote Originally Posted by pete102 View Post
    Hi Toby

    Your Grandfather’s time with 102 Squadron has me a little confused, he arrives in September 43 and departs in June 44 but in that time he and the rest of his crew only look to have flown 3 ops, all in April. The pilot is shown as being posted away from December 43 until March 44 for some unknown reason and this obviously contributes to the delay but it still seems a long time for them to be kicking their heels before their first op.

    9/4/44 to Lille in JD421
    22/4/44 to Laon in JN919
    23/4/44 minelaying in HX153. Overshot runway on landing.

    The crew are posted out in June without flying again.


    Pilot F/S W Hennys
    Nav F/S D Bottom
    W/Op W/O P White
    A/G Sgt G McRitchie
    A/G Sgt W Burton 9/4/44 and 22/4/44 — Sgt J Waugh 23/4/44
    Eng Sgt T Neafsey
    A/B F/S ROJ Cooper

    It all got a bit complicated when the Observer trade was replaced with Air Bombers and Navigators of various types and training was changing constantly throughout the war. W/C C G Jefford in his book on Observers and Navigators briefly covers the A/B’s role, lots of ‘Ifs and Buts’, but generally speaking, when the Air Bomber trade was introduced in July 42 their duties were: Bombing, map reading plus gunnery in an emergency. Also to act as pilot’s assistant where no Flight Engineer was established to do so, i.e. fly straight and level and be able to steer a course. Although this part of their training would be dropped by May/June 44.
    Air Bombers would typically undergo six weeks training at a Bombing and Gunnery School followed by six weeks at an Air Navigation School before moving on to an OTU and then HCU.


    Rgds

    Pete

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