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Thread: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

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    Default Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    He was dismissed from the service by sentence of a
    --General Court Marshal on 15 Dec 1942 in the rank of Gp Capt.
    Any idea of why he was subject of Court Martial and dismissed? He has to have been one of the highest ranks in RAF to have had this happen ?

    Thanks Paul

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    This may be linked The London Gazette of 23 February 1943, page 934, shows that Pilot Officer Norman de Mattos Bentwich OBE MC (RAF/115215) was cashiered by sentence of a General Court Martial, effective from 16 December 1942. His promorion to Flight Lieutenant had been Gazetted on 24 February 1942.

    His court martial was due to losing documents outlining the forthcoming Operation Torch landings - though they were found by a member of public and handed in- he was based at No1 Depot Uxbridge like Cooper so
    May be linked ?

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    G/C Cooper was tried by CM at RAF Uxbridge on 16 Nov 42. He was serving with 1 Depot at the time. He was found not guilty of a Military offence under Section 40, and guilty of an offence under Section 41 (I presume that 41 was a lesser offence).

    F/O De Mattos Bentwich was tried by CM in 'London' on 16 Nov 42. He was also on the strength of 1 Depot at the time. He had a number of charges withdrawn at trial, but appears to have been found guilty of two offences under Section 40. He was cashiered and received a 6 month prison sentence.

    Unfortunately, my copy of MAFL is in storage, so I can't attempt to decipher this further.

    Rgds

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    Norman DeMattos Bentwich seems to have been a fascinating character, born 28/02/1883 London, resided pre-WWI in Stepney and Highbury, he was a Lincolns Inn barrister at law, served WW1 in Egypt from 01/01/1916 as a Local Captain with the Camel Transport Corps, apparently locally commissioned on 01/01/1916 as a Temp 2/Lieut without pay in the Egypt Camel Transport Corps and later the Special List earning OBE and MC. His MC was awarded in the London Gazette 01/01/1918 as Temp/2/Lieut (Special List) and his OBE in the London Gazette 05/06/1919 as Temp Lieut (Local Major) Special List. Bentwich was a serious world traveller between the wars and post-WW2 usually by sea but also by air he shows up in Canada, Australia and USA on many occasions as a Professor, resident in Hampstead for decades, he apparently died in Paddington 08/04/1971.

    cheers PeteS
    Last edited by PeteS; 18th May 2021 at 11:00. Reason: spelling

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    Jonny/Pete thanks - I believe the 2 CM may be linked - Perhaps Cooper was covering up for Bentwich or covering he fact he should not have provided documents


    Rubin, G R.RUSI Journal: Royal United Services Institute for Defense Studies; London Vol. 145, Iss. 4, (Aug 2000): 64-70.

    Will not post full article but needless to say here is highlight

    But the case of the Royal Air Force officer who, during the Second World War, lost documents relating to the forthcoming TORCH landings in North Africa in November 1942 was somewhat unusual. For it is not every day that a 59- year-old former Attorney-General (of Palestine) and Professor of International Relations faces a British court-martial. This, however, is what befell Norman Bentwich who had already enjoyed a long and distinguished career in public service (including Great War service in the Army) before donning air force blue in the Second World War.

    While the court-martial proceedings do not appear among those preserved in the Public Record Office, the details of what happened can be reconstructed from other sources, including his autobiography, My Seventy-seven Years, published in 1962.5 Norman Bentwich (1883-1971) had been an outstanding scholar at Cambridge, became a barnster (Lincoln's Inn), professor at the School of Law in Cairo in 1913-15 and lecturer at the Hague Academy of International Law in 1929 and 1934. He published prodigiously on international law, international relations, classical and Jewish history and philosophy, Zionism and on refugee issues. He had served as a major in the Camel Transport Corps in the Palestine Campaign in the First World War, winning the Military Cross. As a keen Zionist, he was the senior judicial officer of the Military Administration in Palestine in 1919; AttorneyGeneral in Herbert Samuel's administration there from 1922-1931, becoming Professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem from 1932-1951. He was director of the High Commission for Refugees from Germany, 1933-36, helping to organise the Richborough Camp for refugees near Sandwich, Kent, from which many of the inhabitants were recruited into the Pioneer Corps.6 After the outbreak of the Second World War, he worked in the Ministry of Information from 1940-41 and in late 1941 he joined the RAF on staff duties at the age of 59.

    LOSS AND RECOVERY

    The events which brought about Bentwich's service nemesis were that he had been working with the Director of Plans at the Air Ministry in Whitehall, Air Commodore (later Air Chief Marshal Sir) William Elliot, on plans relating to the TORCH landings. Bentwich had known Elliot since their days in the Egyptian government when Elliot's father had been a headmaster in Cairo. Elliot had also served in Palestine during the Great War and in Syria and had married a daughter of Sir John Chancellor, the third High Commissioner for Palestine. At Elliot's instigation, Bentwich was transferred from RAF Intelligence to the Directorate of Plans in July 1942. Bentwich's duties as a staff officer were to read the mass of documents and other material arriving each day at Elliot's office; sift through what was important, read all of Elliot's planning papers and make any suggestions which seemed appropriate. With Rommel threatening the Middle East in mid-1942, Bentwich put forward plenty of views regarding the situation in Egypt, Palestine and Syria with which he was familiar.

    But then came the planning for TORCH. On the morning of 29 September 1942, Elliot read a `most secret' minute from Churchill and instructed Bentwich to go over to Norfolk House to see Air Commodore Sanders and obtain from him certain information in connection with one of the points arising from the Prime Minister's minute. It is likely that Elliot was preparing some comments on the minute to present to a meeting of the Chiefs of Staff. According to Bentwich himself, a copy of the minute was made for Elliot's files. However,

    '...wishing to get the thing into my head , I took the copy home - without permission. I forgot about it the next day when we were preoccupied with other things, and it remained in my pocket. Then, on the morning of the second day, taking my wallet from my pocket, I dropped it - unbeknown - in the street, close to my house [in Hampstead].'8 When first interviewed by the RAF police on 2 November 1942, Elliot had indeed stated that Bentwich did not have permission to remove the relevant papers from the Air Ministry and that he, Elliot, would not have given him authority to do so no matter what reason he gave for requesting them. A week later, Elliot altered his story, now claiming that, `It is difficult for me to say whether I would have given Flying Officer Bentwich permission to take the document to Norfolk House had he asked me at the time, but I feel that I would have done so, warning him to take precautions for its safe custody.'9 Moreover, as Bentwich was to discuss the Prime Minister's minute with Sanders, it was a logical inference, Elliot conceded, that Bentwich would have been expected to take it with him. In the event, Bentwich obtained the information Elliot had required and recorded it in a minute to Elliot dated 29 September.

    It is not clear exactly when Bentwich became aware of the loss. He noted despondently in his memoirs, `There was a `flap,' and my career in Plans in Whitehall was ended,' as he was immediately removed to another department. Indeed, ironically he had just been appointed as a member of a Standing Court Martial for the RAF.10 However, whatever the exact moment of his realisation, the document was recovered

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    Section 40 - Conduct to the prejudice of good order and military discipline
    Section 41 - committing a civil offence aka a "Porthole through which civil laws could be introduced and prosecuted by Court Martial"

    See http://www.rafcommands.com/forum/sho...517#post161517 for example of Section 40 - Which follows re same charge Norman Mattos de Bentwich - So Cooper must have been charged with a Civil offence - may still be linked to the loss of documents but he obviously not found guilty of that

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    Default Re: Court Martial 26048 G/Capt Reginald John Cooper Dec 15 1942

    If a WW2 RAF officer pilot was cashiered in 1946 for offences of dishonesty, would this prevent his family claiming his WW2 medals ?
    Would they be denied the medals he'd earned?
    thanks
    PeteS

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