Ralph Bonfoy Rooper was born to John Royden and Isobel Iris Rooper, of Shamley Green, Surrey.

He was a Lieutenant aboard the Royal Navy Motor Torpedo Boat 417 (MTB 417). These fast boats operated against German merchant and navy vessels off the coast of occupied Europe. They were also engaged in dropping off of Allied agents onto occupied shores, supporting commando raids and other secret missions.

[No crest available]

MTB 417

On 28 December 1943, Lieutenant Rooper was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for: "For outstanding bravery, enterprise and skill in successful attacks on enemy shipping in enemy coastal waters, while serving in Light Coastal Craft."

In the night of 16 March 1944 (a German source states the night of 14/15 March 1944) MTB 417, as part of a larger force, attacks a convoy off the French coast. (English sources state the location as between Calais and Boulogne. German sources off the coast of Gravelines.) The convoy of trawlers is escorted by the ships of the German 36th M-Flotilla under command of Kapitan Grosse. The English force torpedo and sink the M3610 (probably a minesweeper). Later MTB 353 sinks the German minesweeper M10 off the coast of Dunkirk. MTB 417 is sunk by German surface ship.

Later, near Cape Griz Nez, the English force run into the German 18th Vp-Flotilla  under command of Kapitan Boit and disengage.

The body of  Lieutenant Ralph Rooper washed ashore on the Dutch coast and is buried at Bergen Military Cemetery. Of his crew,

Able Seaman Burring is buried at Castricum Protestant Cemetery. Lead Telegraphist Eric Woolis is also buried in Bergen Military Cemetery. Sub-Lieutenant Henry Berkeley is recovered off the Belgian coast and buried at Coxyde Military Cemetery.

The commander of the MTB 417, Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Hughes, Stoker 2nd Class Albert Fearn are commemorated at the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Able Seaman Robert W. Cocker, Able Seaman Walter Hallsworth and Ordinary Seaman James Goostree are comemmorated at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Lieutenant Ralph Rooper was 25 and is buried at Plot 2. Row A. Grave 2.

Bergen, The Netherlands

See also:
Sub-Lieutenant Thomas Hughes
Able Seaman Dennis Burrin
Lead Telegraphist Eric Woolis
Sub-Lieutenant Henry Berkeley


Sources:
British Naval Losses 1939 - 1945
Chronik des Seekrieges 1939 -1945
London Gazette

Directions to Bergen Military Cemetery


If you have any suggestions, comments or additional information, please contact me.

This website is dedicated to the men and women who died and/or are buried in The Netherlands during World War II.

 

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