Saturday, February 4, 2012
This gallant officer was a pilot of the Fleet Airm Arm of 800 Squadron, HMS Ark Royal. He was involved in many of the epic raids and campaigns from the start of the war till his death in 1941. He flew on missions to attempt to sink the Bismarck and was invloved in the Malta runs. On one such mission his log reads:
Lieutenant Rooper piloting the Blackburn Skua Dive bomber is talking about events on 9th July 1940 - flying from the Ark Royal.
"We received an RDF report, and as a result sighted a formation of three Fiat CR 42s, 10 miles from the Fleet and coming straight towards us. green Leader attacked from head on: the enemy then pulled up in a spectacular "Prince of Wales Feathers". The centre Fiat continued in an upward roll and, as he was just about to stall-turn off the top, I got in a 3-second, no deflection burst.I believe the enemy was hit - a small puff of smoke was observed from the fuselage, but this may have been caused by the pilot opening the throttle. By this time the other two aircraft had come around, one on each quarter. I turned to port and carried out a beam attack on the No 2 Fiat, firing a 2 second burst, range about 500 yards. By this time the other two enemy were out of sight behind me ,I half-rolled. When I pulled out I found another Fiat in front and above me. He was on the tail of Green 3. I carried out a stern attack,firing a 2 second burst. He then turned violently away. I then broke away and rejoined the other two Skuas over the fleet. Enemy made no attempt to follow. Sometime during the course of the engagement my Observer had cause to fire his Lewis gun. A stoppage occurred after one round."
Reel Hall Today
Rooper is sitting on the extreme right of the photo.
Here is Rooper's service record:
Lieutenant James Anthony Rooper, RN
Graduated with Pilot class 40
29/11/38 as a Sub-Lieutenant RN (seniority date 01/10/37)was posted to 800 Squadron, FAA, assigned to HMS Ark Royal.
14/08/39 status unchanged.
14/10/39 status unchanged, but Squadron is ashore at RNAS[Royal Navy Air Station] Hatston (HMS Sparrowhawk)
xx/10/39 promoted to Acting Lieutenant, RN (seniority date01/10/39), still with 800 Squadron, FAA.
18/05/40 status unchanged, but Squadron is again assigned to HMSArk Royal.
xx/05/40 promoted to Lieutenant, RN (seniority date16/04/39) – earlier seniority date for combat service in Norway.
18/07/40 status unchanged.
20/09/40 status unchanged.
18/11/40 status unchanged.
14/01/41 status unchanged.
xx/03/41 status unchanged.
04/04/41 800 Squadron disembarked HMS Ark Royal in UK and temporarily disbanded, personnelgiven one months leave.
01/06/41 assigned to the newly formed 881 Squadron, FAA,which was intended for eventual deployment on HMS Ark Royal, then in the Med.
11/06/41 killed as a member of 881 Squadron when his MartletII (AL-254) collided with a Fulmar I (N1924) over .Lee-on-Solent and crashedinto the sea.