Neville Bowes Elliott-Cooper VC

Discussion in 'Military Biographies' started by liverpool annie, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    Lieutenant-Colonel Neville Bowes Elliott-Cooper ........ Birth - Jan. 22 1889 Death - Feb. 11 1918

    World War I Victoria Cross recipient.

    A native of London, he was educated at Eton and the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, and before the war saw service in South Africa, Mauritius, and India. By the time of his V.C. deed he had become a Lieutenant-Colonel commanding the 8th Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, British Army. He was awarded the V.C. for action near La Vacquerie, France during the Battle of Cambrai November 30, 1917.

    From his citation - "For most conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty. Hearing that the enemy had broken through our outpost line, he rushed out of his dug-out, and on seeing them advancing across the open he mounted the parapet and dashed forward calling upon the Reserve Company and details of the Battalion Headquarters to follow. Absolutely unarmed, he made straight for the advancing enemy, and under his direction our men forced them back 600 yards. While still some forty yards in front he was severely wounded. Realising that his men were greatly outnumbered and suffering heavy casualties, he signalled to them to withdraw, regardless of the fact that he himself must be taken prisoner. By his prompt and gallant leading he gained time for the reserves to move up and occupy the line of defence."

    Elliott-Cooper’s V.C. was announced in the “London Gazette” February 13, 1918, two days after he had died in the hospital of No. 1 POW Camp, Lazaret, Hanover, Germany. His V.C. medal is on display in the Royal Fusiliers Museum at the Tower of London.
  2. liverpool annie

    liverpool annie New Member

    ELLIOTT-COOPER, Neville Bowes. (reg No. 253).
    Lieutenant Colonel commanding the 8th Battalion. The Royal Fusiliers.
    London Gazetted on 13th February 1918.
    Born on 22nd January 1889 at London.
    Died on 11th February 1918 at Hanover, Germany. (Died of wounds).
    Memorial at grave in Hamburg Cemetery, Germany and in Ripon Cathedral.

    Digest of Citation reads -

    On 30 November 1917 east of La Vacquerie, near Cambrai, France, when the enemy had broken through our outpost line, Lieutenant Colonel Elliot-Cooper seeing them advancing across the open, mounted the Parapet calling upon the reserve company and details from battalion headquarters to follow. Absolutely unarmed, he made straight for the advancing enemy and under his direction his men forced them back 600 yards. While still yards in front he was severely wounded and realising that his force was greatly outnumbered, he signalled to them to withdraw, knowing that he must be taken prisoner. He died of his wounds three months later in Germany.

    Additional information - Colonel Elliott-Cooper also held the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Military Cross (MC) - Major Elliott-Cooper also held the Medaille Militaire of France
  3. Barnbarroch

    Barnbarroch New Member

    My great uncle Frank Vans Agnew was in Munster POW camp with Elliott Cooper. He wrote 'We had Col. Elliott Cooper with us, badly wounded in the hip joint. He suffered the pains of the damned, but never whimpered once. His language was very bad but a joy to hear, and, when at his worst, he hurled things about. He got a VC for his work before he was captured. The poor chap died in Hanover Hospital a month later. If he had gone to Hanover from Le Cateau he would be alive today, in my opinion'.

    I have photos of the funeral if anyone is interested.
    And I've got a publisher for my great uncle's WW1memoirs! He was a most remarkable man:

    He was 46 when he travelled from America in 1914 to enlist, having been a veterinary surgeon, a farrier in Roosevelt’s Roughriders, an assayer at gold and copper mines in Western Canada and Kazakhstan, and an orange grower in Florida.

    Posted to the front in May 1915 Frank was soon in the thick of the action and in 1917 was transferred to the Tank Corps, winning an MC at Messines. He was wounded and captured in November and spent 13 months in POW camps before a spell in Copenhagen helping to repatriate British soldiers.

    His later career saw him in Belize, prospecting for chicle trees, ranching in New Mexico and growing daffodils in Cornwall before his retirement, which was interrupted by two years in the Home Guard and three in the Royal Observer Corps.

    He died in 1955. I only met him once, about a year before that.


    Memoir of the Trenches, Tanks and Captivity 1914 – 1919 by Frank Vans Agnew (Ed. Jamie Vans) is to be published in about April 2014 by Pen & Sword Books.

Share This Page