COUPER, DAVID OGSTON
Rank: Major Service
Date of Death: 01/11/1944
Regiment/Service: Royal Artillery G.S.O.2. R.A. Combined Operations Panel Reference Panel 1. Memorial GROESBEEK MEMORIAL
Son of J. C. Ogston Couper and Agnes Ida Couper, of Logie, Pitcaple, Aberdeenshire.
was born at Craigiebuckler on 2 March 1913, very soon after the death of his
father. As a result of this, it seems that he grew up very much in the company
of his Milne relatives and particularly his mother's brother, our Uncle Barclay
(Milne). The numerous photographs of his childhood show that he enjoyed an
outdoor life, shooting, fishing and riding. He excelled at sport during his
school and university days (Harrow (Durie's House) and then Cambridge (Trinity
Hall - he read Engineering).
members of the family had served in the Royal Artillery, so it was natural that
he too was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery. He was
posted to India with the 62/3rd Field Brigade, RA. In India he continued his
enjoyment of shooting. At one time he is said to have reared three tiger cubs.
He was stationed in the Western Ghats between 1935-38, based at Poona in
Maharashtra State. His photo album shows that he visited Singhar, Shiogar and
Karla in 1936, Melghat, Tapti, Khadicharasla for swimming, and Ahmadnager Fort.
a period of leave in Scotland in 1937 he was deer stalking in Caochan Dauish,
Bynach, Gealcharn, and Caomunin. He also went fox hunting with a hunt in South
photo album (in the possession of Duncan Lloyd) is dominated by equestrian
pastimes, polo, show jumping and steeple chasing. In 1938 he kept 6 horses.
1939 he visited my mother and father in Bulawayo. He sailed via the Seychelles,
Mombassa and Dar es Salaam. There are extensive pictures of this visit, showing
him to have toured the country.
following is a summary of David's military career:
Commissioned as Territorial Army 2nd Lieutenant
Commissioned as Royal artillery 2nd lieutenant
Posted to 3rd Field Brigade
Posted to 62/3 Field Brigade
Promoted to Captain
Embarked at a port in India - disembarked overseas
Staff College Course in India
Posted to 14th Indian Divison
Acting Major of Indian Division
General Staff Officer 2 of 14th Indian Division
Posted to Headquarters Indian Division
Posted to Headquarters Royal Artillery as General Staff Officer 2, 33 Corps
Embarked for United Kingdom
Posted Amphibious Warfare Company Headquarters
Retains rank of Temporary Major
Embarked for North West Eauope
Missing in action, presumed killed in action, off Walcheren
Lloyd has dug up a great deal of information about the action in which David
was killed. It seems also that he was involved in the Habbaniya Operation in
Iraq in 1941. In this operation, the British forces in the country were
beseiged by a rebel Iraqui force following a political rebellion in which a
usurper had seized power and was now negotiating with Germany. Despite being
heavily outnumbered, being surrounded on three sides, and having a very
unfavourable position in a peace time military camp, the British Forces (mainly
RAF but with other elements) completely routed the Iraquis, then went on to
capture Fallujah and Baghdad, and destroyed the German Air Force elements in
the country. Apart from this we know only that he was involved in action
against the Japanese in Burma.
has David's medals which indicate that he was Mentioned in Dispatches. Unfortunately
the exact details of this arer not known.
never knew my Uncle David. However, I have in my possession a letter that he
wrote to me from Burma, during the War, in which he describes an incident when
some Japanese soldiers were ambushed by an elephant. The letter is illustrated
with one his beautifully executed drawings. He was always a keen sketcher, and
we used to have a number of small watercolours by him of deer in the Highlands.
I have no idea what happened to these, but I still have a watercolour of a fine
1920s car obviously done when he was still a child.
I have told elsewhere, I think that Uncle David became the focus of family
attention and interest, not least among the Milnes, my grandmother's brother
and his family. This was understandable, and Uncle Barclay had no son himself.
David seems to have been all that a boy from an upper middle class Scottish
family was expected to be. He excelled at sports, including the field sports
that were so much a part of this family. I have a large photograph album of him
in School and University teams. He was at Harrow and then Cambridge. From there
he went into the Royal Artillery as a regular soldier, ending his career as a
know very little of his way of life as an adult. My nephew, Duncan Lloyd, has
collected a considerable amount of information about the military aspects of
his career, including his death during the Walcheren landings in 1944 when the
vessel he was on received a direct hit from a German shell. But this still
tells us rather little about what sort of person he was, his friendships and
interests in life.
only other things I have from him are two oriental rugs. He served in India and
the North West Frontier, and evidently acquired a number of rugs then.
Unfortunately, no one else in the family seems to have been interested in these
things, and most of them were very badly treated. The two I have include a
Kyzil Ayak nomadic portiere, a very fine piece similar to those illustrated in
some of the best books on oriental carpets. There was another of these once but
in some way it was completely destroyed and ended up as rags in an outhouse in
Rhodesia. But these rugs show that David was interested in the finer things of
(Thanks to Ewen Greenfield to this information)