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Archive Report: Allied Forces

Compiled from official National Archive and Service sources, contemporary press reports, personal logbooks, diaries and correspondence, reference books, other sources, and interviews.
Further data available at Allied Losses & Incidents database

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239 Squadron Crest
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

Serial: HJ935

Code: HB-?

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.Burial details:

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.

KTY 14.10.2018 Crew photo added

Acknowledgements: Sources used by us in compiling Archive Reports include: Bill Chorley - 'Bomber Command Losses Vols. 1-9, plus ongoing revisions', Dr. Theo E.W. Boiten and Mr. Roderick J. Mackenzie - 'Nightfighter War Diaries Vols. 1 and 2', Martin Middlebrook and Chris Everitt - 'Bomber Command War Diaries', Commonwealth War Graves Commission, Tom Kracker - Kracker Luftwaffe Archives, Michel Beckers, Major Fred Paradie (RCAF) and MWO François Dutil (RCAF) - Paradie Archive (on this site), Jean Schadskaje, Major Jack O'Connor USAF (Retd.), Robert Gretzyngier, Wojtek Matusiak, Waldemar Wójcik and Józef Zieliński - 'Ku Czci Połeglyçh Lotnikow 1939-1945', Anna Krzystek, Tadeusz Krzystek - 'Polskie Siły Powietrzne w Wielkiej Brytanii', Franek Grabowski, Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of CWGC, UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, New Zealand National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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