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Brent Couper 1/70


Brent Couper (1/70)    by Mal Boyd (1/70)
Brent John Couper was born in Perth, W. A., on 15 March 1948 and completed his secondary education at Gateshead High School, NSW. He attended Newcastle University and graduated as a Bachelor of Science/Mechanical Engineering in 1969. Before entering the Army as a National Serviceman he was a student. Brent was posted to the RAEME Training Centre followed by a posting at Southern Command HQ EME (Electrical & Mechanical Engineers) EIS (Engineering Inspection Services?) where he completed his NS.
“Vale Brent, a giant in every way a man should be.” Don Edmunds (1/70)
“Brent was a real gentleman in the true sense of the word. Brent displayed some very special qualities at Scheyville, particularly empathy, listening and support for others. He was very much the quiet reflective type” Peter Balfe (1/70)
Brent Couper stood out in Class 1/70 not only because of his physical stature and his perennial nomination as class “Right Marker” but also because of his wonderful nature. When he passed away it brought out a flow of tributes quite unprecedented from many who reflected on a great person that had quietly but profoundly impacted on them all those years ago.
I was privileged to attend his memorial service recently at Athol Park overlooking Sydney Harbour with fellow classmates Terry Williamson and Bill Moss (both 1/70) as well as Greg Jenkins (3/70) who had connected with Brent in other ways. Terry summed it up well when he said that Brent was farewelled by his family and friends with a range of stories of his life and experiences, summed up by the caption “a life well lived”. Brent’s life was certainly rich in life’s experiences with a common thread being his real interest in all the people that he came in contact with and a genuine sense of humility and modesty as he always looked to support others rather than promoting himself, although we all appreciate that he had the Scheyville determination and competitive spirit – especially on the basketball court.
Brent’s first wife Linda was there as well as his most recent partner and carer, Jeanne. In between, Brent had lost his love, Joy with whom he shared a major part of his life. I passed the many comments from our class on to Linda and Jeanne and Jeanne’s response below says it all:
Brent always said that the Officer Training Unit was life changing. It pushed him further than civilian life. He enjoyed the team work, the leadership models and the responsibilities that grew out the ‘father and son’ scheme which helped orientate new recruits and which ensured both ‘father’ and ‘son’ did the punishment for a son’s misdemeanour. Brent said the Officer Training lit up paths that his engineering studies hadn’t. “The army showed me that I was more interested in leading men than designing machines.”
I’m glad Tony Sonneveld (1/70) remembers Linda fondly recalling pinning on Brent’s graduation Pips. Just a few weeks ago, Brent described “When you graduate from the Army there’s a passing out parade and a ball. For me at age 21, this was my first time in Army finery and it was very fine: navy blue pants, dinner jacket and waistcoat. The Armoured Corps had two yellow stripes down their trousers and a beret with one silver Pip on each shoulder for a second lieutenant. The Army asked a woman – a mum or sweetheart – to put your Pips on. And that was so moving.”
Thank you, thank you kindly for these memories and for being part of Brent’s life. Jeanne Walker

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