b. ? d. 20/01/1895 Indian Ocean.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 08/04/1890 near Aden, Yemen.
Alfred John Cooper, ‘second officer of the Peninsular and Oriental steamship Kaiser-i-Hind, who recently lost his life in a courageous attempt to save a drowning Lascar, displayed during his only too brief career an amount of pluck and heroism not often seen even among Stanhope Medallists. In April 1890, while the P. & O. steamship Massilia was on voyage from Bombay to London, a Lascar fell overboard. Cooper was in the saloon at the time, but hearing the cry “A man overboard”, he rushed on deck and swam to the rescue. He succeeded in reaching the man, and supported him till a boat came to his assistance. For this rescue he was awarded the Royal Humane Society’s Medal in silver, and ultimately the Stanhope Gold Medal for 1890, and shortly afterwards he added to his laurels by winning the Albert Medal. On the unfortunate occasion which ended with his death, Cooper had gone to save a Lascar who had fallen overboard. A boat was promptly lowered to follow him, but something went wrong. The delay was fatal, and the brave fellow paid the penalty with his life.
On the 8th April, 1890, at 10.56 A.M., when the " Massilia" was some 500 miles from Aden, in the Indian Ocean, and going at the rate of 13 knots an hour, a native Indian seaman fell from
the rigging into the water. On an alarm being raised, COOPER, who at the time the man fell
overboard was in the saloon writing, at once ran up on deck, jumped overboard, swam to the man, and kept him afloat until they were picked up by the ship's boat at 11.7 A.M. Several sharks were seen hovering round the ship at the moment the boat came alongside. COOPER was encumbered with his clothes and boots and the Lascar at first gave some trouble by clinging to him.
BURIAL LOCATION: LOST AT SEA.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: PRIVATELY HELD. SOLD AT AUCTION IN 2018 FOR £4,000.
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