Letter from Hank Cooper to Norman Donaldson



Letter from Hank Cooper to Norman Donaldson


Letter to David's younger brother Norman. Hank thanks him for the opportunity to see a copy of Norman's write up of David's Royal Air Force career and confirms that it is factually correct. Hank reviews his association with David and aspects of his own career. He mentions crossing David's path in his subsequent career as an Industrial Tribunal Chairman in 1978. Additional information about this item was kindly provided by the donor.






Three page handwritten letter


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[circled 1]
Please note change of address} [arrow pointing to new address]
From:- H B Cooper [Hank]
15 Renwick Park (West)
West Runton
Norfolk NR27-9LX
[underlined] 21-03-02 [/underlined]
[underlined] Dear Norman [/underlined]
Thanks very much for letting me see a copy of your “write up” about David (Don) and his time in the RAF. Take it from me that it is factually correct in all aspects. But of course Don was always larger [word deleted] than “facts” and I will try and say what I mean in a Post Script at the end.
I first met Don in 1941 in B Flight of 149 Squadron at Mildenhall. He was a fairly senior captain of a crew when I arrived in Jan '41 as a Wireless Operator /A G. W/Cm Speedy Powell [* see comments] was the Squadron C.O. and [inserted] S/Ldr [/inserted] Sawrey Cookson was our Flight Commander. Other namrs which I am sure Don will remember are:- Franks – Fisher – Wand. I left on rest in Sept '41 – awarded MID.
I was recalled to Ops in mid 1943 to 192SD Squadron as a Special Operator (recording German radar and Don appointed Squadron CO early in 1944 and we renewed memories of our time in 149 Squadron I finished my 2nd tour Mayish 1944 (awarded DFC) and was posted on rest to Air Ministry London. People in 192 which again I am sure Don will remember are :- Roach Willlis (Station Commander) – Harry Crow – Jimmy Magdon - “Ken” Kendrick – Leslie Banks etc.
[word deleted]The job at Air Ministry was awful – no flying – no pals – no squash - no beer ups and I
[page break]
was constantly on the 'phone to Don to see if he could get me back to 192 for another tour of Ops. Some how he managed this and I returned to 12 September ish 1944 and started a 3rd tour in 192 under the command of W/Cmdr Don. I completed this tour April 1945 (awarded DSO).
There our RAF paths finished; but during this time I went on two Ops with Don:-
1) 17/9/44 – Halifax 706 – War Operations – 7.35 hrs
2) 19/2/44 – Halifax 706 – War Operations – 7.50 hrs
I then went into GPO (B/T) management and as Deputy Manager of the City of London B/T [inserted] (1978) I “sacked” one of my staff – his Union took the case to appeal which was duly heard by the Appeal Board under the Chairmanship of DWD. I did not contact Don before the hearing but afterwards (it went in our favour) I 'phoned Don and we had a long natter.
Thats about it
Yrs etc
Henry Copper
[underlined] P.S. [/underlined]
I am sorry to hear that Don is poorly in health – but perhaps some of the names I have mentioned will strike a chord. I shall never forget him.
[page break]
[underlined] Post Script [/underlined]
I (H B Cooper) served with David Donaldson on 149 Squadron (Bomber Command) at RAF Mildenhall in early 1941 and later on he was my Squadron Commanding Officer (W/Cmdr) on 192 SD Squadron at Foulsham Norfolk.
He was always completely fearless and outstandingly brave and pressed home his attacks to the uttermost. As the Squadron's C.O. he generated loyalty and warmth he was an outstanding model to follow. He spent much trouble and time encouraging his junior Air Crews as well as helping and seeing to the needs of the ground technians [sic] who serviced the aircraft generally in cold and difficult conditions. He was completely non-boastful, in fact he be-littled his own actions (which were always of the highest order) when discussing air operations. He was an outstanding Squadron Commander in all respects, much liked and completely respected by all his Aircrews and Ground Crews.



H Cooper, “Letter from Hank Cooper to Norman Donaldson,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed February 24, 2024, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/11969.

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