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Myrtle

Captain Jack Oliver Cooper

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Myrtle

I took the dog for one of his Hyde Park walks today and decided to go and have another look at the Australian War Memorial. On the way back I took a different route to normal and passed the building by The Serpentine known as The Lido which is partly used as a cafe/restaurant. I was surprised to see a plaque on the wall of the Lido saying the following.

In Proud Memory

of

Captain J.O.Cooper

Royal Flying Corps

Killed in the Great War

Aged 20

Time would have brought him in her patient ways

So his young life spoke - to prosperous days

To fullness of authority and praise

He would not wait so long, a boy. He spent

His boy's dear life for England. Be content

No honour of age had been more excellent

Checking CWGC I find that Captain Jack Oliver Cooper died 23rd July 1916 and is commemorated on the Arras Flying Services Memorial.

Does anyone know anything else about Captain Cooper and does anyone know why he is commemorated on the front of the Hyde Park Lido ? I was under the impression that the Lido was founded by George Lansbury in 1931 so it seems strange that it has the memorial plaque for a casualty of 1916.

Myrtle

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Dolphin

Myrtle

Capt J O Oliver was flying RE7 2388 of No 21 Sqn RFC, with Lt Alfred Vernon Oliver-Jones (ex Royal Field Artillery) as his observer, when they were killed in action on 21 July 1916. While on a bombing mission, their aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire near Beaulencourt; it was the last RE7 lost by the squadron before the type was replaced with the BE12.

Unfortunately, that's all that I can find on the man.

A photograph of an RE7 is below.

I hope this helps a little.

Gareth

post-25-1098310483.jpg

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Dolphin

Myrtle

Both Airmen Died in the Great War and The Sky Their Battlefield have the date of the airmen's deaths as 21 July. However, the aircraft is shown as 'Missing in Action' on 21 July, so perhaps it took a couple of days for the fate of the men to be confirmed, hence the 23 July date.

Gareth

PS 19 October 2002 was obviously a good day for Forum joiners!

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Dolphin

Myrtle

The London Gazette shows that J O Cooper was commissioned as a Probationary Second Lieutenant in the RFC with effect from 29 January 1915. He must have either joined the RFC direct from civilian life or transferred from the ranks of another regiment. At this time of the War, the former is probably more likely.

George Lansbury would have been old enough to be Cooper's father, so perhaps the airman was a childhood friend of Lansbury's offspring. Alternatively, Cooper's parents might have been friends of the Lansburys.

I'm sure that someone knows.

Gareth

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Dolphin

Myrtle

My interpretation of the information on Capt J O Cooper is that he gained his Royal Aero Club Certificate [he was awarded Certificate No 1058] on 29 January 1915 (all British military pilots had this civil qualification) but wasn't awarded his RFC wings until April. There are all sorts of reasons why this might have taken so long. A minor injury that made him unable to fly for a period is one explanation that springs to mind. If you're interested in a description of the flying training process at this early stage of the War, it's worth reading Duncan Grinnell-Milne's The Wind in the Wires.

Lt Cooper was posted to the British Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders in September. The time spent in the UK between April and September could have been for additional training, or he could even have been serving as a flying instructor!

It looks like he spent ten days at the Pilots' Pool at St Omer before being posted to No 12 Squadron, which was also at St Omer, where it came under GHQ RFC. The number you quote sounds like an Army/RFC transfer form.

Like No 12 Sqn, Nos 16 and 21 Sqns were two-seater units primarily engaged in reconnaisance and artillery observation duties. On 1 July 1916 No 16 Sqn had 14 RE 7 aircraft, 4 BE 2c and 1 BE 2e. It was based at Fienvillers and was commanded by Major J R Campbell-Heathcote, as part of the 9th (HQ) Wing RFC under Lt Col H C T Dowding [later of Battle of Britain fame].

I hope this assists.

Best wishes

Gareth

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Dolphin

Myrtle

If you manage to find a copy of Wind in the Wires (looking at my ancient edition, I notice that there's only one definite article in the title) you might be interested to note that the Commander of No 16 Sqn RFC when Grinnell-Milne was posted there in 1915 was Major H C T Dowding. G-M refers to him as 'the Stuffed Shirt'.

Dowding went on to command the 9th Wing RFC and then led Fighter Command in 1940.

Gareth

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Dolphin

Myrtle

I've just spent a frustrating time trying to determine (i) the name or initials of the Cooper who was a/the RFC flying liaison officer with the French in late 1915; and (ii) the identity of the Caproni machine that the RFC was interested in. Alas, I had no success in either area.

The editor of Baring's book seems to have thought that the Cooper who went to Italy with Baring was the same Cooper who was killed in July 1916, as Capt J O Cooper's death is also mentioned in the book and only one Cooper appears in the index.

There are lots of 'may's and 'could be's that start to appear now. Capt J O Cooper had served in No 12 Sqn, part of the 9th (HQ) Wing, so he may have been remembered when there was a need for a short-term spell as a Liaison Officer. On the other hand, he had been in France for only three months by the end of 1915, which would make him an experienced pilot, but perhaps not experienced enough to be off testing Capronis in Italy. Though if the time between being awarded his wings and going to France was spent instructing, he could have been quite proficient.

I'm inclined to think that we are talking of two separate Coopers, but I wouldn't bet on it. I hope someone has the answer.

If only Baring had used initials as well as surnames!

Regards

Gareth

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Dolphin

Myrtle

It looks unlikely that Lt J O Cooper was the Liaison Officer who went to Italy with Baring. It looks like he was posted to Home Establishment (the UK) on 28 November 1915 after his time in Nos 12 and 16 Sqns and then returned to France by ferrying out an aircraft on his way to No 21 Sqn on 23 January 1916.

A post-Christmas trip to Italy from Home Establishment doesn't seem very likely. However, it's not impossible.

Regards

Gareth

PS I note that you now have a day's seniority over me!

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MattyBoy

Hi all,

Captain J. O. Cooper is mentioned in the book 'A Rattle Of Pebbles' by Brereton Greenhous.

If you click on this link:- http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhh/publication...ine_e.asp?cat=6

it will list a few books that you can view online. Greenhous's is there, just click on it. (You will need PDF to read the pages).

Cooper is first mentioned on page 68 (I think) and also the account of his last flight is on page 95.

Enjoy!

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Myrtle

MattyBoy

I have just noticed your reply. Thank you very much.

I have been researching this mystery off and on for almost a year and still have not found the link between the Hyde Park Lido and Captain Cooper. I have, however, another lead to follow, which hopefully will provide me with an answer.

I wonder what happened to my posts on this thread ? Except for the first they seem to have disappeared ! <_<

Myrtle

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Doug Lewis

Myrtle

Info taken from Royal Flying Corps Casualties and Honours During The War 1914-17 Published August 1917.

Regards Doug.

post-696-1127509869.jpg

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Myrtle

Doug

Thank you very much for the information. I appreciate your help. :)

Myrtle

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Transvaal_Ranger

Hi all,

It may be of some interest to you that Capt Cooper's trio and plaque appear on Eastbourne Auction Rooms list for their forthcoming sale of 17/02/2006. Also included is a RFC cap badge, embroided cloth badge and a portrait of him.

The estimate is £300-£500 which strikes me as a touch light for a RFC KIA group.

Best of luck if you opt to bid on it.

Regards,

TR

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Myrtle

TR

Thanks for your post. It will be interesting to see how much they fetch.

Myrtle

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kingsnorth36

I will be bidding, so a word of warning to others. I will not be beaten ! last year my personal fortune will was assesed at 18.5 Million and that was not including my window cleaning round or what I have found over the years inside the sofa.

On a serious note a nice group, but my god those RFC medals break the bank ![/size]

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MattyBoy

I see that Capt Cooper would have been part of the original squadron that flew out to France in January 1916.

Slightly off topic here, but does anyone have a list of squadron commanders for 21 Sqn, from it's creation in 1915 to the Armistice?

Thanks,

Matt.

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Andrew Upton
kingsnorth36

The Medals were sold on Friday for Wait for it, £2700 plus commission and Vat at 23 %. I bailed out at £1800. Nice group but living proof that the market is still strong and that Auction fever is alive and well in Eastbourne.

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Myrtle
The Medals were sold on Friday for Wait for it, £2700 plus commission and Vat at 23 %. I bailed out at £1800. Nice group but living proof that the market is still strong and that Auction fever is alive and well in Eastbourne.

Rumour has it that they were found in a garage, thus the damp damage on the photograph. Hopefully now they will be looked after with the respect that they deserve.

Myrtle

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Transvaal_Ranger

Hi all,

Been away for a bit so was quite curious to see how the group went at auction - thanks for the post Kingsnorth.

I must say that although I always thought the estimate was woefully light I didn't think that the group would go for as much as it did.

I hope it wasn't the family that parted with the group - chances of getting something like that back (should one of the family ever want to do so) are slim!

Regards,

TR

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kingsnorth36

No think that it was already out of the family.

I thought about £1700-1900 tops

baring in mind that nice group it was but not the victim of a named Ace or killed in a memorable combat. I have just picked up a lovely Pair and Plaque with M.I.D K.I.A to a german ace for £1350.

Regards

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crimeinvestigator

Hi,

I was the guy who purchased Jack Cooper Group at Eastbourne, I have had some success with researching him & have a copies of a number or Reports about his death, having been shot down with a direct hit from Anti Aircraft Fire after a bombing Raid.

His mother & Father were Sir Alfred & Lady Marion Cooper, I have located a wonderful photo of his mother in Full Court Dress from june 1902. His father was a Tea Merchant & has strong links to Ireland.

Capt Copper was involved in a Crash Landing in Fog at Farnham in 1915 & was injured.

I would be interested to hear from anybody else who may have any other Information on him

Crimeinvestigator

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Myrtle

Crimeinvestigator

Welcome to the Forum and congratulations on purchasing a very nice group. I am interested in why there is a memorial plaque commemorating Jack Cooper on The Lido in Hyde Park?

Myrtle

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kingsnorth36

Crime Investigator well done on your purchase.

I couldnt go as far as you to secure Cooper but could see why you did. Are you a fellow RFC Nut ?

When I was looking at the Cooper Group I came across a site with a picture of him I will find it for you.

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Myrtle

J.O.Cooper

post-38-1141467648.jpg

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