Jack Shepherd recalls Dr Braham
Dr Ernest Braham came to the school as a
part-time teacher of biology in the 1943-44-45 period of the war. His
fulltime job was being Vicar of Newtown (he also practised as a psychologist
and often regaled us with stories of the people he had helped!). John
Neville and I went to his church on Armistice Day 1944 to play Last Post and
Reveille at the commemoration service. I recall his thundering from the
pulpit about the "diabolical machinations of Nazism" - I had to look that
up when I got home in order to discover precisely what it meant.
I met him subsequently at Portsmouth Munipal
College when he was doing another stint of part-time teaching. He was a
lovely man, albeit a hopeless disciplinarian, and of course was very much
liked by all his pupils and students.
Wing Commander J.R.D. Braham
DSO,DFC, came to the school with his navigator and told us of his
operations in a Bristol Beaufighter. He was an acclaimed nightfighter ace
and described how he and his colleague used to "stalk" their prey. Some few
months later he was shot down over Holland during a daylight sortie and
became a POW. I remember this incident vividly as I was in the staffroom,
having been summoned by George for what I suspect was to be a painful
interview, when Dr Braham entered in some distress to say that his son had
been shot down and was missing. My fellow miscreants and I were immediately
dismissed never to be summoned again.
Some years later,in the late 50s I was serving
at SHAPE in Paris when I saw Wing Commander Braham again when he was
appointed to the staff of that headquarters. However, I never got the chance
to tell him that his calamity had saved me and my chums from ours. I think
his father would have laughed though.
I hope that this will be of some help, Michael,
and thank you for passing on information that struck such a chord in my
memory - thanks to Peter Keemer too.
Every Best Wish
Extract from Wikipedia:
Bob Braham - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
the free encyclopedia
Daniel 'Bob' Braham (6
Distinguished Service Order and 2 bars,
Distinguished Flying Cross & 2 bars,
Air Force Cross, was the most highly decorated airman of
RAF in World War II.
He claimed 29 enemy aircraft
destroyed, probably destroyed one more, and damaged 6. He
was the top scoring Allied ace flying twin-engined fighters
and was fifth in the list of all the top scoring RAF fighter
pilots in all the theatres of war.
He was born on the
6 April 1920 in
Holcombe, Somerset, his father a
Methodist Minister and a
Doctor of Theology who had served in the
Royal Flying Corps in World War I.
Braham was educated at public
Taunton in Somerset and
Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School,
In December 1937 he joined
the RAF as an Officer cadet, attaining his pilot's wings in
For those of you fluent in
Russian, here is another reference:
Брэхем Джон Боб