28/29.01.1944 No. 239 Squadron Mosquito HJ935 Fl/Lt. Basil J. Brachi
Operation: Bomber Support
Date: 28/29th January 1944 (Friday/Saturday)
Unit: No. 239 Squadron
Type: Mosquito II
Base: RAF West Raynham, Norfolk
Location: North Sea - mouth of the Westerschelde
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi 109905 RAFVR Age 22. Missing
Nav: F/O. Angus Peter MacLeod 63376 RAFVR Age 37. Killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
Taking part in bomber support on a Serrate operation (1). Leaving RAF West Raynham in Norfolk at 01:15 hrs.
During the operation the starboard engine failed, the pilot turned for home. Shortly after, the port engine then began cutting out and the pilot ordered the aircraft to be abandoned. Despite an extensive Air-Sea rescue search they failed to locate them. The navigators body was washed ashore on the island of Walcheren on the 5th May 1944 - the pilot's body was never recovered.
Above: as described (courtesy of Wings to Victory and Colin, the son of F/O. MacLeod)
(1) The technique described here is for the Monica tail warning radar: The technique developed was for the RAF night fighters to fly slowly off the bomber stream, mimicking the characteristics of a heavy bomber, until the rearward-facing Serrate (Monica) detector picked up the emissions from a Luftwaffe night fighter approaching. The Radar Operator would then pass directions to the pilot until the fighter was 6,000 feet behind, at which point the Mosquito would execute a swift turn onto the tail of the German night fighter, pick up the enemy aircraft on his forward radar and attempt to down it.
Researched for the Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour - Aircrew Remembered have offered to provide basic information for the school records. Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi was a former pupil.
Left: Grave of F/O. Angus Peter Macleod. His grave inscription reads 'God's Greates Gift Remembrance'. Right: Panel 201 at Runnymede Memorial.
Fl/Lt. Basil John Brachi. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 201. Son of Mr. and Mrs. L. Brachi, of Torrington, Devon, England.
F/O. Angus Peter Macleod. B.L. Zoutelande General Cemetery. Row 1. Grave 5. Son of Kenneth and Colina MacLeod, husband of Elizabeth Balloch MacLeod, of Cardonald, Glasgow, Scotland.
For Wimbledon College Roll Of Honour, with thanks to our friend at Wings to Victory for crew photographs - other sources as quoted below.