11 family history, November 2017
‘Down Memory Lane’ with Johnny Cooper [one of the Originals]
For our November meeting we welcomed members of other groups and forty-five of us enjoyed a professional presentation by Graeme Cooper about his father – Johnny – one of the original SAS soldiers. Graeme brought along his uncle, Joe Skepelhorn, whose family ran the White Hart in Moreton. Joe is in his 90s and served in the Royal Navy. http://www.thewhitehartmoreton.co.uk/history/.
Johnny Cooper’s story was such an exciting one - those men of the SAS were all intelligent and inspirational; and some were psychotic! We had clips from Johnny’s ‘This is Your Life’ and from the documentary series about the SAS – ‘Rogue Heroes’, which was based on the book by Ben Macintyre who had been given special access to the SAS archives.
Johnny was 18 when he volunteered for the SAS in 1941 – their job was to conduct operations behind enemy lines and what exciting stories we heard.
Towards the end of the Second World War 1st SAS were stationed in Hylands House [or as they called it ‘Hylands Hall’] to ‘rest, retrain and refurbish’ – when the SAS had nothing to do they seemed to drink and they did a lot of it at Hylands. Their commanding officer drove his jeep up the grand staircase at Hylands and filled the banqueting room with the others; they phoned the Fire Brigade, told them that Hylands was on fire and when the fire engines arrived, broke open the champagne! I am sure that they got up to lots more too!
It was an excellent afternoon!