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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.


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145 squadron badge
11.08.1940 No. 145 Squadron Hurricane I P2951 F/O. Branch G.C. (E.G.M)

Operation: Interception/Scramble

Date: 11th August 1940 (Sunday)

Unit: No. 145 Squadron

Type: Hurricane I

Serial: P2951

Base: RAF Westhampnett, West Sussex.

Location: English Channel, South of Swanage.

Pilot: F/O. Guy Rawstron Branch GC 90137 RAF (aux) Age 26. Killed

REASON FOR LOSS:

During the morning of the 11th August squadrons were scrambled to intercept some 150 plus enemy aircraft heading for England. The Luftwaffe formation was made up with He111's and Ju88's escorted by Bf109's and Bf110's.

A huge dogfight took place over the Channel and the pilots had to be careful not to shoot down their own, such were the large numbers involved. F/O. Branch was shot down and his aircraft was seen to hit the sea. His body later washed up in France and buried at the church in Quiberville.

Earlier on the 8th August he was created with shooting down 2 x Ju87's.

He was earlier awarded the EGM (Empire Gallantry Medal - exchanged after his death to the replacement George Cross) London Gazette 25-03-1938 reads:

'On 9th January, 1938 an aircraft in which P/O. Branch was a passenger crashed at Upavon, Wiltshire, and immediately burst into flames. Having extricated himself from the burning aircraft this officer found that the pilot was trapped in the cockpit by his legs. Despite the danger of the petrol tank exploding, P/O. Branch returned to the blazing wreckage and, whilst actually standing on burning debris, succeeded in extracting the pilot. There is little doubt that this prompt and gallant act saved the pilot's life (P/O. Crawley). The aircraft was completely destroyed by fire.'

  

Above and left: Quiberville Churchyard as photographed by our Kate Tame during her visit in 2012. It shows that he was killed in the service of 601 Squadron. He did serve with them prior to service with 145. (Higher resolution photographs of the grave are available - free of charge, to relatives and other researchers)

Burial Details:

F/O. Guy Rawstron Branch G.C. Quiberville Churchyard, Grave 6. Born St. George Hanover Square, London, England on October 24th 1913. Son of Charles Churchill Branch, OBE, and Mary Bernadette Branch (nee Rawstron), husband of Lady Prudence Mary Branch.(Daughter of the 6th Earl of Chichester) They had married on the 25th March 1939. Educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford.

Researched for relatives of the pilot. With thanks to sources quoted below.

KTY 05.09.2015 Map added - 29.10.2015 Serial number updated - courtesy Jack Brook

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 and Fred Paradie - Paradie Archive (both on this site), 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', Norman L.R. Franks 'Fighter Command Losses', Aircrew Remembered Databases and our own archives. We are grateful for the support and encouragement of UK Imperial War Museum, Australian War Memorial, Australian National Archives, UK National Archives and Fold3 and countless dedicated friends and researchers across the world.
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Last Modified: 29 October 2015, 04:58