Deles Thomas Cooper was born in 1921, the son of Sherman Delius Cooper and Mary Lee Grant.

341st Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group Heavy
Interred D,8,6, North African Cemetery, Carthage. Tunisia

Turret gunner and engineer on board B-17F Flying Fortress “Hellzapoppin” with serialnumber 41-24376.  Plane lost during a storm over the Mediterranean.

Previously featured in an Associated Press article, October 22, 1942. Selected quotes:

A Flying Fortress dubbed ‘Hellzapoppin’ fought off at least a dozen attacks by Germany’s dangerous Focke-Wulfe 120s during the raid on Lorient yesterday and returned to its base unscathed. The most unusual thing was that we were attacked so much and didn’t even get hit once,” said the first pilot, Capt. Arthur M. Hughes, Route 2, Spokane, WA.

He was seconded by Staff Sergeant Deles T. Cooper, Route 1, Wheat, TN, turret gunner and engineer, who declared: “five attacked us at one time, they were as sorry as hell about it afterward because we drove ’em all off.”

“We were all in it shooting when five came at us,” Cooper continued. “The tail gunner was the first to start shooting. The Focke-Wulfs were firing at us all the time but not hitting us. We peeled them off one at a time. That attack was broken up.”

Parents: Mr. and Mrs. S.D. Cooper, Route 1, Wheat, TN

Crew members
1st Lt Jim Kinder Bone
1st Lt Afred J. Cogdill
1st Lt Carl S. Peklenk
1st Lt Arthur M. Hughes
S/Sgt Deles T. Cooper
Sgt Larry B. Hagan
Sgt Alton H. Hinson
S/Sgt David H. Evans
Sgt George F. Richardson Jr.
Sgt Victory S. Hunter

Hellzapoppin was not lost during a storm over the Mediterranean, but on the aerodrome of Maison Blanche, Algeria. The B-17 was hit by a German bomb during take off, instantly killing the whole crew.
Attached is a photo of the wreck of the plane on the Maison Blanche aerodrome that was used by the 97th BG at that moment before they moved to Biskra, Algeria at the end of December 1942. You can use the photo for publication, it is public domain.
–Submitted by Johan Ryheul

The Knoxville Journal, 9 February 1943
Staff Sgt. Deles T. Cooper, turret gunner and engineer of a famous Flying Fortress appropriately dubbed “Hellzapoppin” was killed in action November 20  in Northwest Africa, his father and mother, Mr. and Mrs. S.D. Cooper, Route 1, Wheat, Tenn, have been notified. On Oct. 21, Sergeant Cooper was a member of “Hellzapoppin” crew when on a bombing trip to Lorient.  The ship and crew were featured in an AP story in the Journal from “somewhere in Britain” because the Fortress returned to its base uncratched after beating off a dozen attacks by Germany’s dangerous Focke-Wulf 190’s. AP quoted Sergeant Cooper then as saying, “Five attacked us at one time, but they were sorry as hell about it afterward because we drove ‘em off… We peeled ‘em off one at a time. On Jan. 4, Cooper’s picture appeared in an AP news photo in the journal as a member of the Army Air Forces doing  detail work in the Aleutian Islands. He is survived by his parents; and brothers, Hershell and Morris Cooper of Wheat, and Elbert and Carl Cooper of Portsmouth, Va.

  • Rank: Staff Sergeant
  • Date of death: 20 November 1942
  • County: Roane
  • Hometown: Wheat (Now Part Of Oak Ridge)
  • Service Branch: Army/Army Air Forces
  • Division/Assignment: 341st Bomber Squadron, 97th Bomber Group, Heavy
  • Theater: Europe/North Africa
  • Conflict: World War II
  • Awards: Purple Heart
  • Burial/Memorial Location: North Africa American Cemetery, Carthage, Tunisia
  • Location In Memorial: Pillar XVII, Middle Panel
  • Contact us to sponsor Deles T. Cooper

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