b. 03/04/1928 Whitworth, Lancashire. d. 16/06/1955 Portland, Dorset.
DATE OF AM ACTION: 16/06/1955 Portland, Dorset.
Charles was one of two children of Edmund Charles Cooper and Lavinia Elsie Rhodes (nee Holgate). He trained in medicine at London Hospital, and qualified MB, BS in 1952. He also qualified MRCS, LRCP the same year. He then became a house physician at London Hospital, before beginning his National Service in the RNVR as Temporary Surgeon-Lieutenant on 31st December 1953. He married Josephine Dorothy Tompkins in Romford, Essex. He was appointed to HMS Maidstone on 8th February 1954, and his wife gave birth to a daughter just three weeks before his death.
An explosion occurred in H.M. Submarine SIDON in Portland Harbour on 16th June, 1955, which later caused the submarine to sink. Surgeon Lieutenant Rhodes was among the first to enter the SIDON after the explosion and, in spite of the total darkness and dense smoke, he brought out an injured man to safety. He then put on a Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus and re-entered the submarine with morphia to give further help to the injured. In doing so he greatly prejudiced his chance of escape, He was not a submarine officer and was not familiar with the use of the breathing apparatus or the lay-out inside a submarine. In spite of these handicaps and the pitch darkness his only thoughts were for those within the submarine; he had no hesitation in re-entering the SIDON and he succeeded in helping two more men to escape before the submarine sank. Surgeon Lieutenant Rhodes’ gallant and selfless act in helping to save the lives of others cost him his own life.
BURIAL LOCATION: LOST AT SEA.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.
Allan Stanistreet – Image of the Sidon Memorial in Portland, Dorset.