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HOOPER, John Ashby CBE (1929-2007)

HOOPER, Brigadier John Ashby CBE (1929-2007)

Born on 18th February 1929 in Sydney, the son of Ashby Arthur William Hooper and Lydia, nee Rich, he attended Geelong College as a boarder from 15 February 1940 to March 1947. He had peviously attended Glamorgan School and his adress at enrolment wa 31 Montalto Ave, Tooak.

The Pegasus of December 1951 reported: 'At the Duntroon graduation parnde Senior Under Officer John Hooper, as the cadet with the greatest all-round ability, received the Sword of Honour.'

The Pegasus of December 1952: 'On active service in Korea with the United Nations forces are Major Warwick Callander, who made a good recovery from his wound, Captain John H Anderson, Captain John Salmon and Lt John Hooper. The two last-named met on the field in an international Rugby match, Captain Salmon being attached to a NZ artillery regiment.'

He spent 330 days on service in Korea as 335028 Lieutenant J A Hooper with the 3rd Battalion RAR from 24 July 1952 until 18 June 1953; he was Company Commander 1 RAR in Malaya in 1959, and Second-in-Command 6 RAR in South Vietnam in 1966.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs lists him with Vietnam Service (No. 335028) as a Major with the Royal Australian Infantry Corps. His Vietnam service is listed as follows: '1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment 04/12/1965 - 04/06/1966 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment 05/06/1966 - 11/10/1966.'

He became Honorary ADC to the Governor-General until 1984, and Private Secretary to the Governor of New South Wales from 1985 to 1989; a Director of the Vietnam Veterans Trust of Australia from 1990; and Vice-President of the Order of the British Empire Association from 1994, having been promoted Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1983. He was a part-time Member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (Veterans' Appeals) from 1985.

Brigadier Colin Khan (CO 5RAR 1968-70) wrote his obituary after John Hooper's death in August 2007:
'John Ashby Hooper commanded 5RAR at Holsworthy in 1970-71, after the Battalion returned from Vietnam. He died very suddenly, in August 2007, at his home on the NSW South Coast. John went to Royal Military College Duntroon in 1947 and graduated in 1951 having been my class senior and BSM of the Corps of Staff Cadets.

His overseas service included Japan and Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and Singapore. He served during his 37 years in the Army in five battalions of the Regiment, namely 2RAR (Puckapunyal), 3RAR (Korea), lRAR and 6RAR (Vietnam) and 5RAR (Holsworthy). He also had staff postings at Army Headquarters and retired in 1984 as Commander 2nd Military District.

At his memorial service in Canberra, I wrote a special prayer for John and also read a message of condolence from the Commanding Officer of 5RAR in Iraq. Our Association was well represented by the President, Geoff Pearson, Brian Budden and Paul Greenhalgh. Stan Maizey was also present as an RMC classmate and former member of the Battalion. John will be remembered as an outstanding soldier who gave his all to the Regiment and the Army. It is a privilege to have known him.'

His father, Ashby Arthur William Hooper MC (1895-1982), and brother, George Arthur Ashby Hooper were also educated at Geelong College.

Sources: 'Geelong Collegians at the Second World War and Subsequent Conflicts' compiled by J. Affleck p566 (citing The Pegasus; Australian War Memorial; Obituary from Fifth Battalion Royal Australian Regiment website, by Colin Khan CO SRAR 1968-70); The Age (Melb) 4 Aug 2007.
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