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Thread: Sqn Ldr T B Cooper DFC 4/3/45

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    Default Sqn Ldr T B Cooper DFC 4/3/45

    Good evening folks,

    Seeking information about Squadron Leader Thomas Bruce COOPER 121725 RAFVR who died 4th March 1945. Any detail regarding Command, unit and award would be gratefully received.

    Thanks,
    Dave.

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    Hi Dave

    At the time of his death he was a Group Captain and was OC, RAF Tarrant Rushton.

    Malcolm

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    Dave, There are two Thomas Bruce Coopers. Your man is as follows:
    Air Ministry,
    14th July, 1942.
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE.
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH.
    To be Plt. Offs. on prob. (emergency): ó
    Sgts.
    16th May 1942.
    1006363 Thomas Bruce COOPER (121725) .

    Air Ministry, 8th January, 1943
    ROYAL AIR FORCE VOLUNTEER RESERVE
    GENERAL DUTIES BRANCH
    Plt Offs. (prob ) to be Flg Offs on prob (war subs ) ó
    16th Nov 1942
    T. B COOPER (121725).

    Air Ministry, 15th October, 1943.
    The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following awards.
    Distinguished Flying Cross.
    Flying Officer Thomas Bruce COOPER (121725), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, No. 101 Squadron.
    The above awards are for gallantry and devotion to duty in the execution of air operations.

    I couldn't find the relevant LG entry, but your man should have been promoted to Flt Lt (war Subs) wef 16 Mar 44. Acting rank, if that is what he had as a Sqn Ldr, is not gazetted.
    Regards, Terry

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    Hello All,

    From, 'The Times'. August 28, 1945.

    Died on Active Service.

    Cooper, A./Sqn.Ldr. T.B. D.F.C.

    Col.

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    Malcolm, Terry, Col,

    Thank you very much for your endeavours. A friend in Tealby gave me the name and I wasn't (initially) of much help. Fortunately people like yourselves always do me proud. I can now, with due credit, pass on this information.

    Cheers,
    Dave.

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    Hello,

    Here is what wrote Andrew Wright (of the now disappeared website of Tarrant Rushton):

    Everyone who served at RAF Tarrant Rushton during the Second World War remembers its charismatic, dynamic and determined commanding officer - Group Captain Tom Cooper.

    Almost everyone on the station held him in high regard, pointing out that he would never ask others to do what he had not done first!

    But what happened to Group Captain Cooper after he left Tarrant Rushton ? Many have asked the question but no-one has found the answer ... until now.

    Itís not known where Group Captain Cooper - known affectionately by everyone outside his earshot as "Groupie Cooper" - went after RAF Tarrant Rushton was closed down and put on a care and maintenance basis in September, 1946.

    He had arrived at Tarrant Rushton in September, 1943, when he flew in a prototype Albemarle MK Four two-engined bomber for glider towing trials.

    But in December, 1948, Group Captain Tom Cooper became the Superintendent of Flying at the top secret Arms and Armaments Evaluation Establishment at Boscombe Down north of Salisbury in Wiltshire.

    After his wartime days, the Group Captain was awarded an OBE to sit alongside his DFC which he received in April, 1942, when wing commander in charge of Coastal Commandís 502 Squadron which operated deep over the Atlantic.

    Born at Quorndon, Leicestershire, in 1908, Thomas Bruce Cooper was educated at St Bedes in Eastbourne, Repton and St Johnís Cambridge where he was a member of the University Air Squadron.

    Group Captain Cooper was commissioned in 1929 and served on flying duties at Calshot in Hampshire and on engineering duties in Singapore. December, 1940, saw him promoted to wing commander.

    But nine years later on March 5th, 1949, he lost his life while test flying a Meteor 4 No. RA 382 from Boscombe Down, north-east of Salisbury in Wiltshire. The airfield was the Royal Air Force's Arms and Armaments Evaluation Establishment - it's top secret base for testing new aircraft and related developments.

    Meteor Mark 4 jet No. RA 382 was the first of the long-nosed Meteor 4s with an extended fuselage behind the cockpit and a new-style fighter tail to improve the jetís handling. Group Captain Cooper took off at 2.30 pm for a weather and stick force ĎGí tests in 8/8ths cloud layered to 20,000 feet.

    A high priority test of the newly modified jet which had problems with its artificial horizon, visibility on the ground was four to five miles with rain changing to snow. Group Captain Cooper lost control of his Meteor in cloud.

    The jet crashed into the ground 60 yards from Heatherlea Farm - narrowly missing two houses - close to the Iron Age Figsbury Ring north-east of Boscombe Down. He had been in the air for just nine minutes.

    Group Captain Cooper - RAF number 01580 - lies buried in the Boscombe Down section of the Durrington village cemetery on the Amesbury to Netheravon road.

    His funeral - with full military honours - took place in All Saints Church at Durrington. Grave No. 887 reads:

    " Group Captain Thomas Bruce Cooper OBE, DFC, RAF. Born March 6th, 1908. Killed in a flying accident on March 5th, 1949. Greatly beloved "

    Group Captain Cooper died just one day short of his 41st birthday - a sad but perhaps not surprising end for a great and determined man whose life was the RAF, and - between 1943 and 1946 - RAF Tarrant Rushton and its squadrons.

    Airmen remember that at short notice he would take on any aircrew operational duties - except pilot - in any crew such as rear gunner, navigator, flight engineer, bomb aimer, wireless operator in the event of an airman going sick.

    Regards.

    Bruno
    Bruno LECAPLAIN
    Raf WWII 38 Group Squadrons Reunited <www.raf38group.org>
    Stirling Aircraft Society <stirlingaircraftsoc.raf38group.org>

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    Bruno,

    Many thanks for the information on the 'other' Bruce Cooper. Clearly a colourful character! Having now read more about RAF Tarrant Rushton I feel I should delve deeper into the world of glider operations. Elsham Wolds was home to 21 Heavy Glider Conversion Unit for a year after the war and I really have very little knowledge of the Albemarle, Horsa and Dakota so employed. More homework . . .

    Many thanks,
    Dave.

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    Default Sqn Ldr T B Cooper DFC (121725)

    Hello Dave
    Not sure when you first enquired about Thomas Bruce Cooper but I am his daughter.
    I'm very curious of course as to what you want to know about him, and why? I would also love to know who in Tealby told you about him.
    If you think that there is anything relevant which can tell i would be only to willing to do so.
    Just as a matter of interest i have left papers of his, his DFC and i think a copy of his poems written during the war, with the RAF Heritage Museum in East Kirkby. Fred Panton would probably be quite willing to show you these if you were interested.

    Ros Playdon (nee Cooper)

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    Ros,

    How marvellous to hear from you. Did you chance upon my request or did someone contact you to say your father's name had suddenly appeared on a RAF-related messageboard?

    The query began about six weeks ago. A friend of mine was working in Market Rasen for a couple of weeks but stayed in a B&B in Tealby, (sorry, don't know the name). Anyway, though he has little interest in military history per se he knows that I a penchant for, shall we say, 'investigating' names (like most of the others on here do!!) He sent me the details but I couldn't find anything, hence my post.

    Terry kindly provided info from the London Gazette and mention of 101 Squadron was intriguing given that Ludford Magna is just 'down the road' from Tealby. Am presuming that your father had a link with that station up until his death?

    That you donated items to East Kirkby is also incredibly fortuitous. Another friend of mine is a volunteer worker on the Hampden project there and might readily look up the papers for me.

    Please feel free to contact me via the private message route.

    Kindest regards,
    Dave.

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    Default Sqn Ldr T B Cooper DFC

    Dave
    Pleased to hear from you. Not sure how to access the private message route!!
    As a family we lived in Tealby during the war but i am surprised that anyone there remembers my father. He was killed on 4th March 1945 while on his way to Kirmington, he was still on active service having completed 66 operational flights. He was stationed at Ludford Magna with Squadron 101 at the time of his death. He had three narrow escapes in the Battle of Britain, and he was later transferred to a pathfinder group and on many occasions navigated the master bomber in raids on industrial targets in Germany. He was awarded the DFC in 1943.
    He did some training in Miami, Florida when he first joined up in 1940 sometime. I don't know exactly what he did, he was very fond of Spitfires but i'm not sure whether or not he actually flew them. Time training in Florida seems to have included some fun at least as he became a member of Casey's Dog House in Casey's Bar, Miami Beech!
    He was stationed at Spalding Moor, Yorkshire at some point, and then seems to have been in several places in Lincolnshire. The only curious thing that came up in conversation with Jim Panton at the Heritage Museum was that it was not that usual for a Squadron Leader to be the navigator, and the only thing that Mr. Panton wondered was that because my father was fluent in German and French that he may have been useful in translating messages picked up from foreign sources.
    The upshot of this is that i haven't as yet managed to find out exactly what my father did during the war, there seems to have been something different about Squadron 101, and the only person i have met who was in that squadron at the time of the WWII didn't want to discuss the matter!!
    Oh yes, i nearly forgot, i found your request by putting father's name into Google. I have done this a few times hoping to find out something about him. The only curious thing i found was a reference to a book of his poems at Amazon, which was very strange as my mother paid to have these published after the war, but they were never distributed for sale, and yet Amazon had details of the book but no copies. Very odd. One of my father's hobbies was writing, before the war he had some short stories published in the Northern Weekly Gazette.
    Hope this is of some interest to you, and if you find out anything that you think may be of interest to me, i would love to hear from you.
    Best wishes
    Ros

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