Group Captain Thomas Bruce Cooper

Discussion in 'The War In The Air' started by Matthew Carr, Mar 28, 2019.

  1. Matthew Carr

    Matthew Carr New Member

    Dear All,

    My Name is Matthew Carr and I am a relation of G/Cpt. T.B. Cooper mentioned above. I know he served with No.38 Wing and was also part of operations Freshman and Telemark. There is another T.B Cooper who died in 1945 but it is not him as I believe he died in a plane accident in the late 40s. T.B. Cooper was also an O.B.E and received the DFC.

    However, the one thing I do not have is a photo of the man himself. I have tried other lines of the tree with no luck and the internet has provided nothing. I am sure that a man at his rank would have at least one photo but I cannot find a single thing. If anyone knows what the best course of action to try and find a photo or can help in another way I would be greatly appreciative.

    Thanks to all,
  2. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

    Do you have his service records or death cert?

    a thread here G/Cpt Tom Cooper

    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 jet’s handling. Group Captain Cooper took off at 2.30 pm for a weather and stick force ‘G’ 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.

    Sqn Ldr T B Cooper DFC 4/3/45
    timuk and alieneyes like this.
  3. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Sometimes you can find a photo of someone like this in their service records. When I received the records for my father there was a small photo of him with them - may have been to check security ID or something along those lines but it was in there

  4. CL1

    CL1 116th LAA and 92nd (Loyals) LAA,Royal Artillery

  5. Matthew,

    I have a photograph of THOMAS BRUCE COOPER at RAF Tarrant Rushton.

    What is your family link to Group Captain Cooper?

    Regards and thanks,

    CL1 and Owen like this.
  6. Matthew Carr

    Matthew Carr New Member

    My Great-Grandfather was John Cooper who was Thomas Bruce Coopers younger cousin
  7. Harry Ree

    Harry Ree Very Senior Member

    An interesting point about the Meteor F4 that it was in a stage of evolving Marks and was chosen as early as 1945 to improve the RAF's front line fighter presence....maiden flight July 1945 with increased power output from the new Derwent 5 engine and in squadron service from 1948....last delivery April 1950.

    It was regarded as a high performance aircraft.Parallel with it's operational role,the RAF formed the High Speed Flight in late 1945 with the intention of breaking the world Airspeed Record using 2 Meteor 4s and later adding 3 more all with EE serials.

    The record was broken over Herne Bay on 7 November 1945 with an airspeed of 606 mph,then on 7 September 1946 the record was pushed higher to 616 mph over Tangmere....both pilots were Group Captains.From the feedback from the Flight, all Mark 4's,apart from the early Mark 4's had 6 feet clipped from the wings to give 37 feet wingspan.In addition to increasing the airspeed,the rate of roll was improved.It would appear that the airspeed achieved by the HSF dedicated aircraft was not included in the production model specification,this being in the region of 585-587 mph.

    I would not recognise the Mark 4 as long nosed,the Meteor NF 12 and NF 14 were so named from the extended nose to accommodate AI radar.I remember seeing the NF 14 at Church Fenton in the mid 1950s and a long time after the NFs were replaced by the Javelin,a Meteor NF 14 stood as a gate guardian into the mid 1960s.

    Unfortunately the Meteor had a high accident and casualty rate which can be confirmed from selected sources, leading to the aircraft being referred to as the "Meatbox". There must be an official accident report available on the loss of RA 382
  8. Bruce Tocher

    Bruce Tocher New Member

    Hi Matthew, I am doing some follow up research for an update of the book, Silent Heroes, by Ion Drew which includes an account of Operation Freshman. The first edition did not have much information on the Halifax crew which returned safely after the operation and I am, therefore very keen to find out more about them to make sure their efforts are also appreciated in any future edition. If you have additional information on G/Cpt. Cooper which you are willing to share it would be much appreciated. Best regards, Bruce

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