To honour those who served their country

“In this their finest hour”

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7607793

Lance Corporal

Raymond Hilary Cooper

Known as ‘Bob

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1917/07/16 - Born Sparkbrook, Birmingham

Son of Beaumont William and Kate Cooper

Husband of Lavinia Cooper

Royal Army Ordnance Corps

Att. 48 Light Anti-Aircraft, Royal Artillery

Workshops

 

1943/02/01 - WO 417/58, Casualty List No. 1087. Missing

1943/05/13 - WO417/60, Casualty List No. 1133. Previously posted Missing, 01/02/1943, Casualty List No. 1087. Now reported ‘Missing believed Prisoner of War’

1943/07/15 - WO 417/63, Casualty List No.1187. Previously shown on Casualty List No.1133 as Missing believed Prisoner of War, 01/02/1943. Now reported a Prisoner of War.

 

Japanese PoW

1942/03/08 - Captured Java

Japanese Index Card - Side One

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Japanese Index Card - Side Two

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In November 1943, the Japanese decided to ship the sick back from Ambon to Surabaya, Java. A total of 540 men, including a number of Japanese sick patients, were taken on board the 4,645-ton passenger-cargo ship Suez Maru. In two holds, 422 sick British (including 221 RAF servicemen) and 127 sick Dutch prisoners, including up to twenty stretcher cases, were accommodated. The Japanese patients filled the other two holds.

Escorted by a minesweeper W-12, the Suez Maru set sail from Port Amboina, Ambon, but while entering the Java Sea and about 327 kilometers east of Surabaya, Java, Netherlands East Indies, the vessel was torpedoed by the American submarine USS Bonefish commanded by Cdr. Tom Hogan. The ship started to list as water poured into the holds drowning hundreds, many managed to escape the holds and swam away from the sinking ship. The Japanese mine sweeper W-12 picked up the Japanese survivors, leaving between 200 and 250 men in the sea. At 14.50, the minesweeper, W-12, under orders from Captain Kawano, opened fire, using a machine gun and rifles. Rafts and lifeboats were then rammed and sunk by the W-12. The firing did not cease till all the prisoners were killed, the minesweeper then picked up speed and sped off towards Batavia (Jakarta) at 16.30 hours.

Sixty-nine Japanese had died during the attack, 93 Japanese soldiers and 205 Japanese sick patients were rescued by the Japanese. Of the 547 British and Dutch prisoners, there is reported to be one survivor, a British soldier, Kenneth Thomas, who was picked up twenty-four hours later by the Australian minesweeper HMAS Ballarat, this has not been confirmed.

 

Died

Age 26

29th November 1943

Place of death - off Kangean Islands 6 22' South by 116 35' East.

Cause of death:-  Sinking of the Suez Maru by US Bonefish

 

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1939-1945 Star-tn

Pacific Star

War Medal

1939-1945 Star

 

Loved Ones

Son of William Beaumont Cooper and Kate Cooper

Husband of Lavinia Cooper, of Perry Barr, Birmingham

 

Memorial

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Column 109.

Singapore Memorial

 

Information

Katherine Ryker

Java Index

Hell Ships - Suez Maru

Commonwealth War Grave Commission

KEW Files:- WO 392/23, WO 361/2181, WO 361/1616, WO 361/1742, WO 361/1222, WO 361/1530, WO 361/2018,

*

''Our Thanks are for being a Chapter in Life.''

 

 

 

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