Robert James Mansfield HOOPER

HOOPER, Robert James Mansfield

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 19 August 1914, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Lieutenant
Last Unit: 10th Infantry Battalion
Born: Kapunda, South Australia, Australia, 11 July 1895
Home Town: Alberton, Port Adelaide, South Australia
Schooling: Le Fevre Peninsula School, South Australia
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Killed In Action, Gallipoli, 27 April 1915, aged 19 years
Cemetery: 4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery
Row E, Grave 14
Memorials: Adelaide Elder Smith & Co Limited WW1 Honour Board, Adelaide National War Memorial, Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour, Kapunda District Honour Board, Kapunda and District Fallen Soldiers Monument, Port Adelaide St Paul's Church Memorial Alcove
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World War 1 Service

19 Aug 1914: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
20 Oct 1914: Embarked AIF WW1, Second Lieutenant, Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Ascanius, Adelaide
1 Feb 1915: Promoted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion
25 Apr 1915: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli
27 Apr 1915: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Officer, 10th Infantry Battalion, ANZAC / Gallipoli, Killed in Action

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Biography contributed by Schools Program

The son of James Hooper and the late Liby Louisa Hooper, of 'St Clair', Prince Street, Alberton, Robert was educated at the Alberton Public School. Previously serving two years in the 77th Battery; thirteen months 76th Infantry and eight months E company, 76th Infantry, Robert received his first commission as a 2nd Lieutenant (provisionally) in the 76th (Hindmarsh) Infantry on 1 August 1913 and held this commission at the time of joining the AIF. 

Single and only 19 years old, he enlisted on 19 August 1914 in Adelaide, South Australia. He was appointed a 2nd Lieutenant in the 10th Battalion at Morphettville on 19 August 1914 and was posted to original C Company and embarked with same per HMAT Ascanius on 20 October 1914.

At Mena in Egypt in January 1915 when his company merged with original E Company and became the new B Company, he was appointed a Platoon Commander in same, and promoted to rank of Lieutenant on 1 February 1915. 2 March 1915 he embarked on board the Ionian, accompanying the Battalion to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Forces in Gallipoli, and landed with his company from the Prince of Wales at the historic landing on 25 April 1915.

After leading a ration party from the beach to C Company line of trenches he proceeded to return, but whilst attempting to penetrate a perfect hail of shells and bullets was killed in the act of crossing between two trenches. Lieutenant-Colonel S P Weir assisted to bury him, most of the Officers at the time being in the front line. Robert was buried in: 

4th Battalion Parade Ground Cemetery, Anzac
Row E, Grave 14
1/2 mile east of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli

He had been chorister at St Paul's Church, Port Adelaide, and had been prepared for confirmation in the same church by the rector Reverend M Williams, who was asked to break the sad news of his death to his father.

He was one of the youngest Lieutenants in the 10th Battalion and was of a cheerful disposition.

In his last letter to his father, he said:

“I have by now learnt to take care of myself; and, whatever happens, never regret you let me go, as nothing would have kept my heart away from it. I simply had to go, and simply do or die; and remember, I am only doing my duty as a soldier is bound to.  You and I always used to love the verse of Longfellow's which read 'Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and departing, leave behind us footprints on the sands of time.'  If I do not manage to leave any footprints, you can remember you brought up a son of British blood, and who was not frightened, but took it as an honour to give his life for his King and Country.  Whatever comes, I trust I will not die in any way that would disgrace my country or my friends.  Many a noble family will have to suffer loss, and why not take it in the best light possible.  Take it as an honour that you help to pay for the nation's misfortune.  Even if I knew I was to meet the most violent death I would not flinch but would go ahead.  So, whatever happens, do not worry and think I have not my whole heart in the game.”

Extract from “The Fighting 10th”, Adelaide, Webb & Son, 1936 by C.B.L. Lock; supplied courtesy of the 10th Bn AIF Association Committee, April 2015.