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Geoffrey Stewart Cooper

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Geoffrey Stewart AWMM
  • Surname
    Cooper AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
    WWII 12467 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    31 March 1911 AWMM Christchurch, New Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
    WW2 Pre 1940-1941 AWMM 30 Leinster Rd., Christchurch AWMM
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
    WW2 Mrs. D.F. Cooper, 19 Bidwell St., Timaru (wife) AWMM
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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  • War
  • Campaign
  • Armed force / branch
    Army AWMM
  • Service number
    WWII 12467 AWMM
  • Military service
  • Promotions/ Postings/ Transfers

Military decorations

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  • Medals and Awards
    Military Cross (MC) AWMM
    24 September 1942 AWMM
    The National Archives. Recommendation for Award for Cooper, Geoffrey Stewart. (Ref. WO 373/21/121). Military Cross. AWMM

Training and Enlistment

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  • Military training
  • Branch Trade Proficiency
  • Enlistment
  • Occupation before enlistment
  • Age on enlistment

Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes

Last known rank

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  • Last rank

Biographical information

Biographical information

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  • Capt G. S. Cooper, MC; Christchurch; born Christchurch, 31 Mar 1911; accountant; twice wounded. (Source: Cody, J.F. 21 Battalion. p.175.)

    'After waiting some time for the return of Colonel Allen and Staff-Sergeant Philip, the mixed party decided to move back towards the other units before consolidating. Lieutenant Cooper's story runs:
    ‘Promptly at 0420 hours we fanned out in formation, and commenced our walk back, and no sign of either Col. Allen or Ron Philip did we see. We walked for approximately 3/4 of an hour when we came across Major McElroy, 21st Bn, who was in charge of approximately 20 men and 20 prisoners, so after explaining our theory, we pushed on until we considered we were near Pt. 64 on Ruweisat Ridge. The first grey streaks of dawn were breaking at this stage, and Capt. Ironside along with Major McElroy, and a Capt. from the 21st, had a conference on a course of action. Suddenly we saw a truck moving not 30 yards from us, and Jim Richardson's Bren started things going. The truck stopped, and out came 20 Itis, who must have received a horrid shock finding us behind them. They quickly joined Maj. McElroy's party. We then surged forward in formation for it was fast breaking day. The area was fairly thickly populated with Itis, but they soon caved in arid joined the rest of their comrades. We were moving down a wadi at the foot of the ridge, and our stiffest resistance came from a mixed bunch of entrenched Huns and Itis, and we had a couple of charges at them, and in the last of these Tinny Ironside received a machine gun bullet through the head, and was killed instantly. A bayonet attack or two overcame all resistance, and Ray Searle's burst of a Bren magazine down a long trench convinced them that the fight was one sided…. They say New Zealanders are resourceful, but I'll go so far as to say they think of most things. A certain Dunedin wharfie, member of 17 Pl., was helping to escort the prisoners when he stopped and carefully cleaned his bayonet, and on being questioned he answered, You never know how this war might swing around, and they say that blood on your bayonet doesn't help to prolong one's life….in the course of rooting out the Itis we came across an I officer from the 5th Indian Division who had been captured that morning while on a recce. He was delighted to lead us back to his lines….’

    Cooper's account of the capture of over 500 prisoners, mainly Italians of the Pavia Division, must be supplemented, especially concerning Cooper's own work. The last main attack by this party was launched by Jim Richardson's shout as he saw a truck move off: ‘We can't let them get away. We must give it a go!’ In view of their shortage of ammunition by this time, bayonet charges were the order of the day. Until he was wounded, Corporal Jim Baxter set his section an excellent example as he led them into one charge after another. He was wounded when the party struck the Germans mentioned by Cooper. At this point, Privates Stanley Wilson, Alan Hamilton and Douglas Elliott attacked two German posts where an anti-tank gun and a medium machine gun were situated close together. Their grenades and close following up with the bayonet wiped out the opposition. Many splendid individual efforts were made, but the more important charges were led by Cooper himself. As Major McElroy reported to the commander of 5 Brigade on the following day: ‘Throughout this action, Lt. Cooper who had armed himself with a rifle and bayonet fought superbly. He was cool, rallied his men all the time and often as not led the bayonet charges. I have not seen a better example of courage and leadership.’ For his gallantry, Cooper was awarded the MC.' (Source: Ross, A. 23 Battalion. pp. 175-176.) AWMM
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Death

About death

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  • Death
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • 21 Battalion (Official history of New Zealand in the Second World War 1939-45) AWMM
      p.175. AWMM
    • Ross, A. (1959). 23 Battalion. Wellington, N.Z.: Department of Internal Affairs, War History Branch. AWMM
      pp.169, 173, 175, 180, 194, 198. AWMM
    • Scoullar, J. L. (1955). Battle for Egypt : the summer of 1942. Dept. of Internal Affairs, War History Branch, Wellington, N.Z. AWMM
      p.271. AWMM
    • Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force. (1941). Nominal Roll Second New Zealand Expeditionary Force No. 3 (Embarkations from 1st July, 1940 to 31st March, 1941). Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
      p.98 AWMM
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