11.08.1940 No. 145 Squadron Hurricane I P2951 F/O. Branch G.C. (E.G.M)
Date: 11th August 1940 (Sunday)
Unit: No. 145 Squadron
Type: Hurricane I
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)
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.