Hooper, Ivor Stuart Huntley
He was the only son of Lieutenant-Colonel Stuart Huntly Hooper RA (C 1881-85), who died on active service in 1915 (see individual entry), and Georgina Dora Hooper (daughter of Colonel W.E. Lockhart), of Shawford, Winchester. Ivor Hooper came into College as a War Scholar. He was in the Bisley VIII of 1925 and passed into RMC Sandhurst in the autumn of that year, becoming Captain of Shooting there.
He was gazetted to the West Yorkshire Regiment in 1927, became Adjutant of his battalion in 1935, and later passed through the Staff College. Throughout the war he was employed on staff duties. He was a senior officer on General Eisenhower’s staff during the North African campaign and was mentioned in despatches in 1942 for his services. In 1943 he was appointed a member of the planning organization at the War Office. There he distinguished himself by the clear-headed and conscientious nature of his work. He attended all the great Allied conferences at Quebec and at Washington in 1943 and 1944, and was on his way to the Yalta conference in February 1945 when he died, aged thirty-seven.
The York transport aircraft of 511 Squadron which was carrying him had to make a forced landing in Pantellaria harbour. The under-carriage hit a sunken wreck, and he died a few hours later from the injuries he received.
Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke (Chief of the Imperial General Staff), whose friend and ADC Captain A.K. ‘Barney’ Charlesworth was killed in the same crash, was on Malta when he heard of the crash, and recorded the event in his diary:
February 2nd 1945
This morning when I went to my office Brian Boyle met me with the ghastly news that the plane Barney was travelling in had crashed last night in the sea near Pantelleria! Of the twenty passengers only seven had been saved. In spite of several telegrams to try and obtain names of survivors it was not till just on 2200 that I obtained the news that Barney had been killed.
At a later stage Alanbrooke added the following note on the circumstances of the crash:
They had all embarked on one plane which developed engine trouble before they started. They were consequently taken to another plane; all members of the crew were individually excellent, but I believe had not flown as a crew together. Owing to some fault in the navigation the plane arrived over Pantelleria in the dark thinking they were over Malta. They kept calling up for the aerodrome to be lit up, but they were apparently incapable of receiving any messages. Finally, after flying round for some time, they sent a message saying that they were running out of fuel and would land on the sea. The pilot chose a small bay and, I believe, did an excellent landing on the sea. Unfortunately, at the point of landing there was a submerged wreck which ripped off the bottom of the plane and killed the occupants. That at any rate was the account that I was given after the disaster had been gone into.
Hooper – who was unmarried – was buried in Malta, in joint grave 1.1C.5 of the Imtarfa Military Cemetery along with Lieutenant-Colonel W.G. Newey.
On his way back from the Yalta conference, Alanbrooke stopped off at Malta and visited the graves:
February 10th 1945
At 1900 (Russian time, 1700 Malta time) we landed in Malta, having had an excellent trip. I went straight to the cemetery where Barney was buried and laid a wreath on his grave, and also on the other three War Office officers who had been killed.
- Surname: Hooper
- Forenames or initials: Ivor Stuart Huntley
- House: College
- Years in School: 1920-1925
- Rank: Lieutenant Colonel
- Regiment: Prince of Wales' Own West Yorkshire Regiment
- Date of Birth: 1st July 1906
- Date of Death: 2nd February 1945
- How Died: Killed in Flying Accident
- Location in War Cloister: Inner E1
- Decoration: NA
- Burial Site: Imtarfa Military Cemetery, Malta: Grave I.1C.5