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Category: Korea

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T/Sergeant B C Cooper MM, 2RAR at The Hook.

Brian Charles Cooper was born in East Perth, WA, in August 1933, and was a painter before enlisting in the Australian Army as an eighteen year old in 1951. 

With the service number 5/2053, he served in Korea with 2 RAR during 1953-54.

 In July 1953, holding the rank of temporary sergeant, he received an immediate award of the Military Medal for his gallantry and leadership at Hill 111, a position protecting the Australian lines at 'the Hook', near the Imjin River in North Korea. After service in Korea, Brian Cooper remained in the Army until 1968, reaching the rank of Warrant Officer Class I, and was later prominent in the Western Australian RSL. 

The recommendation for the award of the Military Medal reads as follows: 'On the night 24/25 Jul 53 Sergeant COOPER was commanding the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment Medium Machine Gun Section of ten men on Hill 111, a feature on the extreme right flank of the United States 1st Marine Division. The task of this section was to cover the western approaches to the HOOK feature, some thousand yards away. At about 2130 hours a heavy enemy artillery concentration came down on Hill 111, causing three casualties in the section, quickly followed by a fierce assault by an estimated enemy company, which penetrated the main defences on the immediate left of the section. 

Sergeant COOPER, leaving his MMGs manned and laid on their primary task, quickly organised the rest of his men into a defensive position facing his left flank and engaged the enemy so skilfully and with such a volume of grenades and small arms fire that they were unable, in spite of their numbers, to penetrate his position. During the next seven hours, Sergeant COOPER stubbornly fought off with his few remaining men repeated attempts by the enemy to overrun his position. He also on his own initiative called down friendly artillery fire, directing it so close to his own and the US Marines positions that it completely prevented the enemy from pressing home further organised attacks. 

The efficiency of his fire control was made evident the next morning by the number of enemy dead who lay in front of the area. In addition, Sergeant COOPER continued to pass back to his battalion, throughout the action, a constant flow of the most valuable information concerning the situation in both his and the US Marines area, and also personally supervised the evacuation of his casualties to a safe area under heavy shell fire and through an area in which parties of enemy were still moving.

Throughout the whole night Sergeant COOPER set an outstanding example of cool, cheerful and courageous leadership which was a splendid inspiration not only to his own section but also to the men of the US Marines with whom he was fighting. There is no doubt that the stubborn defence his action put up in the face of great odds, his skill in controlling his own artillery fire and the invaluable information he passed back were largely instrumental in breaking up a strong enemy attack on a feature vital to the defence of the whole HOOK area.' Image & text from the AWM


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces