June 14, 1917 (Boston, MA) – November 16, 1944; 27 years old
Married to Alice Utz Cooper (1913-1994), in Wilton, CT on August 26, 1940
Last local address: 7 Reed Street, Norwalk
Service number: O-776955
Unit: 449th Bomber Group (Heavy); 716th Bomber Squadron
Missing In Action (MIA)
Born to David W. (1893-1977), born in Russia, and Helen Alma Litchfield Cooper (1895-1976). One brother, Charles D. Cooper (1916-1984), and one sister Margarite Cooper Ross (1919-2000). Frank was an Eagle Scout
Awarded the Air Medal and the Purple Heart Medal.
From the Connecticut Military Portrait Collection, Connecticut State Library, Identifier: PG570; used with permission
Having actually gone “Missing” on November 16, 1944, he was not officially declared by the military as being dead until November 17, 1945, 1 year and 1 day after he went missing as was the custom. B-24J #42-78479 “Princess Helen” took off, with a crew of 10, from Grottaglie, Italy on a bombing mission over Munich, Germany. After a successful bombing mission, and while returning to base, they were attacked by German fighter aircraft and believed to have been damaged. They were last seen leaving the formation. It is unknown where they crashed and the entire crew was lost.
Airmen who perished on B-24J #42-78479:
Austin, Lynford A. ~ 2nd Lt, Pilot, Albion, MI
Bartlett, William W. ~ 2nd Lt, Navigator, Auburndale, MA
Cooper, Frank B. ~ 2nd Lt, Bombardier, Norwlk, CT
Dehn, Arnold A. ~ Cpl, Gunner, Anoka, MN
Franklin, Merle E. ~ Cpl, Gunner, Tulsa, OK
Franz, George W., Jr. ~ Cpl, Gunner, Pittsburgh, PA
Mumford, Joseph F. ~ Cpl, Gunner, South Hempstead, NY
Roberts, Gwinn O. ~ Sgt, Radio Operator, Cumming, GA
Sijewic, Anthony ~ Cpl, Engineer, Brooklyn, NY
Sweebe, Wayne L. ~ 2nd Lt, Co-Pilot, Toledo, OH
Front Row (L to R): Frank Cooper (B); Lyn Austin (P); Wayne Sweebe (CP); William Bartlett (N). Standing: Joseph Mumford (TTG); Anthony Sijewic (E); George Franz, Jr. (WG); Arnold Dehn (TG); Gwinn Roberts (RO/G); Merle Franklin (BG)
From The Norwalk Hour November 27, 1945
Mrs. Alice Utz Cooper of Charles Street, wife of Second Lieutenant Frank B. Cooper of the Army Air Corps, who has been missing in action since November 16, 1944, has received a letter from the War Department, which gives information as the territory in which he was flying when the plane was hit by enemy fire. Lt Cooper, a bombardier, who entered training on February 21, 1943, was assistant manager of the H.L. Green Company here and later in Waterbury prior to his enlistment on December 13, 1942. The letter was as follows:
The Adjutant General’s Office
November 17, 1945
Dear Mrs. Cooper:
Since your husband, Second Lt Frank B Cooper O-776955, Air Corps, was reported missing in action on November 16, 1944, the War Department has entertained the hope that he survived and that information would be revealed, dispelling the uncertainty surrounding his absence. However, as in many cases, the conditions of warfare deny us such information. The record concerning your husband shows he was a crew member aboard a B-24 (Liberator) aircraft which departed Grottaglie, Italy, to participate in a combat mission to the West Marshaling Yards, Munich, Germany. Your husband’s aircraft was apparently hit by enemy fire while in the target area and on the homeward journey it began to lag behind its formation. Approximately ten minutes from the target in the vicinity of Salzburg, in southern Germany, this aircraft which appeared under control, turned (article ends at this point)
From The Norwalk Hour December 19, 1944
Lieutenant Cooper, Husband Of Local Woman, Was Bombardier With 15th Air Force
Mrs. Frank B. Cooper (the former Miss Alice Utz) of Charles Street has received word from the War Department that her husband, Second Lieutenant Cooper, a bombardier with the 15th Air Force in Italy, has been missing since November 16 when he participated in a raid over Austria. Lieutenant Cooper left on September 21 for overseas from Gowen Field, Boise, Idaho. He enlisted on December 15, 1942, and entered upon training on February 21, 1943. Mrs. Cooper was with him when he was stationed at Niagara University, Niagara Falls, New York, and in Victorville, California. At Gowen Field he was trained to direct bombing from his B-24 bomber for combat duty, in an intensive and long training program. When Lieutenant Cooper enlisted, he was assistant manager of H.L. Green and Company, Waterbury, and before that was assistant manager of the Wall Street store of the company in this city. His parents are Mr. and Mrs. David W. Cooper of 16 Rockwell Avenue, Milton, Massachusetts, and his brother, Charles D. Cooper is with the U.S. Marine Corps. Lieutenant Cooper is a graduate of Quincy, Massachusetts High School and in his earlier years was active in Boy Scout work and became an Eagle Scout.
Memorialized at Sicily-Rome American Cemetery, Piazzale Kennedy, 1, 00048 Nettuno RM, Italy.
3 thoughts on “SECOND LIEUTENANT FRANK BENJAMIN COOPER; U.S. ARMY AIR FORCE”
One of his crewmates, Cpl. Arnold Dehn, was from my hometown – Anoka, Minnesota, the Halloween Capital of the World. He still has relatives locally.
I hope Anoka honors his life, service, and sacrifice in a meaningful way.