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Full Name: William Henry Cooper
Rank Last Held: Ordinary Seaman
Forename(s): William Henry
Surname: Cooper
War:
  • Regular Military Service
  • Korean War, 1950-1953
Gender: Male
Date of Birth: 18 February 1931
Place of Birth: Cromwell, Otago, New Zealand
Body on Embarkation: Kayforce
Military Awards: New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM)
Last Unit Served: Royal New Zealand Navy, HMNZS Tutira
Place of Death: Near Yonakuni Shima Island off the coast of Taiwan
Date of Death: 29 July 1950
Age at Death: 19
Year of Death: 1950
Cause of Death: Accidental drowning
Memorial Name: Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo.
Biographical Notes:
  • He was a regular serviceman prior to serving with the navy
  • Served with Royal New Zealand Navy 1949-50
  • Served in HMNZS Tutira 1949-50
  • "While the frigates were passing Yonakuni Shima Island off the coast of Taiwan, nineteen-year-old Ordinary Seaman W.H. Cooper went overboard from Tutira during the late afternoon of 29 July. Standing on a guard rail to spread awnings - recognized to be a dangerous practice and firmly discouraged - he lost his balance and fell into the water. Although the sea was perfectly calm, he could not swim. No trace of him was found by the ships, which searched for an hour." (McGibbon 1996, vol. 2, p. 18)
  • Prime Minister Helen Clark and Defence Minister Mark Burton presented the New Zealand Operational Service Medal (NZOSM) to next of kin of New Zealanders who were killed or died in military operations since 1945 at a ceremony at Parliament 3 September 2003.
  • The New Zealand Operational Service Medal was received on his behalf by his brothers Mr Jim Cooper & Mr George Cooper of Cromwell.
Description of Image:
  • Auckland War Memorial Museum, Hall of Memories. Korea, Malaya-Borneo (taken in April 1999).
  • Hall of Memories WW2, Auckland War Memorial Museum, looking East (taken in April 1999)
Further References:
  • Ian McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War, Volume II: Combat Operations, Oxford University Press, Auckland, 1996, pp. 18, 359, 371, 401.
  • New Zealand in the Korean War. NZHistory online. URL: http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/war/korean-war
Sources Used: New Zealand Defence Force. Roll of Honour. Personnel who have died on operational service since 3 September 1945. URL: http://medals.nzdf.mil.nz/info/roll-of-honour/index.html
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