Anthony Ashley COOPER

Serial Number: NZ41467
RNZAF Trade:Pilot
Date of Enlistment: 18th of January 1941
Rank Achieved: Flight Lieutenant
Flying Hours: Unknown
Operational Sorties: Unknown

Date of Birth: 11th of September 1919, at Palmerston North
Personal Details: Anthony is believed to have been the son of Tancred Ashley Cooper and Mable Cooper (nee Thornes) of Wanganui. His elder brother, Tancred Eric Cooper, was a Pilot Officer with No. 88 Squadron RAF, and was reported as Missing over Europe on the 18th of September 1941.

Anthony attended Wanganui Collegiate (Marris House) between 1934 and 1936. At the time of enlisting with the RNZAF he was working as a Clerk in Wanganui. He was an insurance company representative at time of his death

Service Details: Anthony was commissioned (and probably received his Flying Badge) on the 5th of July 1941. He emabarked for the Far East aboard the Maetsuycker on the 22nd of July 1941, and upon arrival he joined No. 67 Squadron RAF, who were flying Brewster Buffalo fighters at that time. He moved with the squadron to Mingaladon airfield in Burma, and they converted to Hawker Hurricanes there.

At war now against Japan, on the 23rd of January 1942 Anthony damaged a Japanese fighter while Sgt William Christiansen in his squadron downed another.

The following day Anthony, along with Sgt Christiansen, Sgt Vic Bargh and F/Sgt Edward Sadler were patrolling above Mingaladon when they spotted a formation of enemy bombers. Between the four of them they managed to destoy all the bombers. Anthony got a long burst of ammunition into one which blew up, but his own engine caught fire during this action. he dived steeply and blew the flames out successfully.

Anthony Cooper continued to fly and fight over Burma, and was one of the prominent New Zealand pilots who fought the enemy over the Arakan region in Hurricanes in 1942-43. In early 1944 he was based with No. 67 Squadron at Alipore when Japanese aircraft made a flight over Calcutta, India. The squadron intercepted them and Anthony mannaged to shoot away part of the wing of one Japanese aircraft. By the end of 1944 following three years of action in Burma and India, Anthony's tour of duty ended and he was brought back to New Zealand.

Anthony transferred to the Active List of the Reserve of Officers on the 29th of March 1945.

Date of Death : Anthony died on the 23rd of August 1975, aged 55 years (one source states he died on the 24th of August 1975)
Buried: Hautapu RSA Lawn Cemetery, Cambridge

Connection with Cambridge: Anthony lived in Cambridge after the war and is buried here

Thanks To: Many thanks must be expressed to Errol Martyn, the Cambridge Museum, the Cambridge Historical Society, and to Simon Young. Some information has also been gleaned from New Zealanders in the Royal Air Force Volume III by Wing Commander H.L. Thompson


Home Airmen Roll of Honour