Major Robert (Bob) Antony Nooth Cooper TD, Royal Engineers Born 18th October 1954 in Plymouth UK, Died 27th October 2008 in Nairobi Kenya.
Rob entered RMAS at 17 and began his first tour in Northern Ireland on his 18th Birthday with the Prince of Wales Own Regiment of Yorkshire.
He was a regular for 12 years and joined the TA immediately on leaving, and was still a serving Officer when he died.
He saw three tours in Ireland, as well as Belize, Germany, Bosnia, Iraq and many other besides. In his many years of service he served with a variety of units. He was a soldier through and through and loved his time in the Army.
Since returning from Iraq in December 2005 he worked as a security consultant, training humanitarian aid workers in skills that would help them to stay alive in some of the world's most dangerous places.
He travelled extensively in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, The Sudan, Haiti, Nigeria and many other places and leaves many friends there who are a lot safer because of what he did.
During his time in Basrah, Rob met Steve Vincent, an American Journalist who was murdered in August 2005. Steve wrote the following piece about Rob and it describes him better than I could.
"One of my favorite visits was at the headquarters of the Governing Council of Basra, the newly-elected body of provincial legislators. The pols I saw (and I'll have more to say about them in the future) were an odd mixture of sheikhs resembling Alec Guinness in Lawrence of Arabia, grim-faced representatives of religious parties and even grimmer-faced women council members shrouded in black abiyas, all protected by British soldiers and the occasional Shitte security man, standing outside the council chambers with the blank expression of a hired gunsel whose importance resides solely in his AK-47 and ability to follow orders. Adding to this exotic, if combustible, mix was Major Robert Cooper, the British liaison to the GC--a droll, erudite, witty throwback to an older tradition of English officer, part diplomat, part warrior, with a touch of the poet beneath the camouflaged khaki and neckerchief tied in a dashing cravat. One could almost imagine him as a Victorian officer in the British Raj, flattering, cajoling and soothing the indignant tempers of Indian panjandrums and potentates."
Rob like Steve was a poet, and they spent many hours discussing poetry both their own and others. I rarely saw Rob without a scrappy piece of paper, ready to write when the inspiration took him.
Rob's death from pneumonia was totally unexpected and a great shock to all those who knew and loved him. He was funny , kind, clever and witty. He was my best friend, as well as the man I was due to marry and I miss him terribly