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Thomas Cooper

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright

Portrait - This image may be subject to copyright


  • Title
  • Forenames
    Thomas AWMM
  • Surname
    Cooper AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
    • Thomas Cooper AWMM
    • Tom AWMM
  • Service number
    Vietnam 482859 AWMM
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    17 July 1948 AWMM AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status
    Unknown AWMM Single AWMM


Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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


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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
    Died of wounds, Cause of Death AWMM

Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Son of Mrs E. Cooper. Rua and Papi Cooper were his guardians.

      Died of wounds - gunshot wound to right scalp sustained in a friendly clash.

      A Memorial Flag was presented to his guardian Mr Rua Cooper

      Private Cooper's brother, Mr Martin Cooper of Auckland, received the New Zealand Operational Service Medal on his behalf from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence at a presentation at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday 27 November 2003

      3 Platoon, W3. Wounded in action, 10 October 1970 – gunshot wound in friendly fire incident. Died of wounds at US 24th Evacuation Hospital, Long Binh on 11 October 1970. For more information see the W3 Company RNZIR website. Buried in Taupiri urupa, Waikato. AWMM
    • Tom was wounded by friendly fire on 10 October 1970, being struck a glancing blow to the head by a bullet. He was winched with three other wounded New Zealanders from the accident site by US Army 'dustoff' helicopter about 40 minutes after being wounded and flown to the 1st Australian Field Hospital at Vung Tau. Unconscious from the gunshot wound, Tom’s condition was assessed as critical and needing immediate specialist treatment and he remained on the helicopter which then flew him to the US 24th Evacuation Hospital [24 Evac] at Long Binh. Tom died of his wound sometime on 11 October 1970. The formal identification of Tom's body was done by Capt Bill Blair RNZIR who was flown to 24 Evac probably during the morning of 12 October 1970. On arrival Capt Blair was directed to join a long queue of people waiting to identify their unit dead but once the US staff realised that he was there to identify a deceased Kiwi soldier he received VIP treatment, being quickly ushered into a long green tent and shown the body. [Tom’s cousin Sgt Bill Cooper RNZIR, a clerk with NZ Component in Nui Dat, also viewed the body in Vung Tau before it was repatriated]. Tom’s body was embalmed in Saigon on 14 October 1970 under arrangements from the NZ Embassy and returned to New Zealand in a hermetically sealed aluminium casket by RNZAF C130 Hercules which left Vung Tau on 19 October and arrived at RNZAF Base Auckland on 22 October 1970. Tom was received by HQ Auckland Army Area before being passed into the care of his whanau [extended family] headed by his uncle Rua Cooper [the then Speaker for the Maori Queen] who had been responsible for Tom’s upbringing from the age of 16-years. His body lay in state for three days on the Te Awamarahi Marae Tuakau, Port Waikato before, on the Maori Queen’s orders, being buried in the Royal Graveyard [Tainui urupa] on the sacred Taupiri Mountain above SHW1 in the Waikato. Tom’s sister Liz recollects that her brother was buried with full military honours including gun carriage and graveside volleys by soldiers from Papakura Army Camp. Public - Roscoe - Comrade - 21 October 2017 - Dieppe Barracks history (
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About death

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  • Death
    11 October 1970 AWMM
    Age 21 AWMM
    VietnamSoutheast Asia AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
    urupa, Tainui urupa, Taupiri Mountain, New Zealand AWMM
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference



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  • Memorial name
    • Auckland War Memorial Museum, World War 2 Hall of Memories AWMM
    • Tuakau War Memorial, Tuakau Services Cemetery, corner of Alexandra Redoubt Road and Roberts Road, Tuakau, Waikato, New Zealand AWMM

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21 October 2017RoscoeAucklandComrade
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