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David Charles Hopper 1939-2013

Commander David Charles Hopper was born in Margate on 04 April 1929.

David was one of 4 children to Alice and Charles Hopper. His father Charles was a naval man wounded in action whilst serving on board HMS Victoria which was torpedoed in the Baltic in 1919. He was honourably discharged as a result of his injuries but never recovered his health.

David was just 7 years old when his father died, so his childhood and upbringing was a struggle.

David gained a place at the Royal Hospital School, Holbrook, in Ipswich which had a fairly tough regime. He studied well and gained excellent qualifications joining the Fleet Air Arm, Keppel Division, in the Royal Navy straight from school.

He met the love of his life, Barbara at a dance and the couple married on 7th July 1951. They enjoyed 61 years of married life and had 2 children, Rosalind and Russell.

They enjoyed their 5 grandchildren immensely and became "Bebe" and "Gramps" to them all.

They were lucky enough to see 8 great grandchildren born before Barbara died in December 2012 - 2 more are on their way!

David obviously had salt in his veins and quickly rose through the ranks to become Lt Commander in 1970.

He was always very circumspect about his involvement in the Navy - we know he specialised in the aeronautical engineering side of things and was involved at a senior level in the development of aircraft armourment. He twice served on the Ark Royal.

Following on from the theme of armourments, David became a serious marksman and acquired many trophies from Bisley and other competitions for his shooting.

During his service career he was based on various ships and their bases, amongst them; RNAS Culdrose; HMS Condor in Arbroath; HMS Heron in Yeovilton where, in 1975, Rosalind and Duncan were fortunate to have the use of the Officers' Mess for their wedding breakfast!

When David 'retired' he started a second career as Boscombe Down and worked with ML Aviation until he finally retired in 1994. Once again he travelled the world specialising in servicing clients in India, Japan, and the Middle East.

David was a Freemason, but it was a constant frustration to him that during his working life, his extensive travelling conflicted with his desire to serve more regularly. His very private nature meant that his children only learned about these activities quite late in his life.

On reaching full retirement, David started playing golf in earnest. By the this time he and Barbara had moved from the West Country to live in Berkshire and Heron Drive became the family home.

David soon joined Badgemore Golf Club in Henley on Thames and made a new and extensive circle of friends there. His handicap decreased as he played more but he never let it get too low! He regularly Captained "the seniors" in matches.

David was remarkably fit and able right up until his last year. He loved time pent with the family and had a great sense of humour coupled with an extensive knowledge covering many subjects. In the end Cancer got the better of him on 10th November 2013. He was clearly in considerable pain, but he never once complained and seemed always to be able to steer conversation towards a more positive subject. A remarkable quality and a remarkable man.

 

David R Jarvis

Recorder.

 

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