Tributes to war veteran
TRIBUTES have been paid to a D-Day veteran who was well-known and respected in the town he made his home.Bob Cooper, 83, served in the Royal Navy landing craft on June 6, 1944, ferrying troops onto the beaches.
TRIBUTES have been paid to a D-Day veteran who was well-known and respected in the town he made his home.
Bob Cooper, 83, served in the Royal Navy landing craft on June 6, 1944, ferrying troops onto the beaches.
As the Germans attacked, he worked in the engine rooms of the craft, helping to keep his vessel moving and on course as the allied invasion of Europe began.
Mr Cooper, who died at his home in Ascot Drive, Felixstowe, had started his war service in 1941 at the age of 16 - joining the Air Raid Precautions team, even though the minimum entry age was 17.
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His son, Adrian Cooper said: “Among his many memories of those dreadful times was a story that during bombing raids over Ipswich when German bombers were dropping incendiary bombs, and while others were diving for cover behind sand bags and Nissan huts, my dad would be patrolling Ipswich dockside actually kicking the incendiary bombs into the water.
“He often modestly joked he was practising his football skills to get a trial for his beloved Ipswich Town!”
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An engineer, Mr Cooper, born in Barrow in Furness but who moved to Ipswich with his family while at junior school, worked for British Fermentation Products' yeast factory near Stoke Bridge.
He was in charge of the cold store when the company moved to Felixstowe in 1961 and was packing supervisor when he retired after nearly 38 years' service.
Mr Cooper, who leaves a wife Doris, loved to grow chrysanthemums, and helped to form his local Neighbourhood Watch group.
To mark his 80th birthday, his son wrote to his favourite celebrities and public figures telling them of his father's war service and asking them to sign a birthday card.
Mr Cooper was thrilled to receive congratulations from a wide range of people - including the Queen, Prince Charles, then prime minister Tony Blair, goalscoring legend Gary Lineker, Baroness Thatcher, celebrities Michael Palin, Ian Hislop, Bruce Forsyth, Michael Aspel, David Dickinson, Natasha Kaplinsky, Rolf Harris and Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Mr Cooper said: “My mother and I are now living with an irreplaceable loss, but I also feel an immense amount of gratitude toward my father and mother for everything they have done for me.”
Pay your tribute to Bob Cooper - write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk