Jack Shepherd recalls Dr Braham

Dear Michael

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.<

 His son, 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

Jack Shepherd

Extract from Wikipedia:

Bob Braham - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bob Braham

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

John Randall Daniel 'Bob' Braham (6 April 1920 - 7 February 1974), Distinguished Service Order and 2 bars, Distinguished Flying Cross & 2 bars, Air Force Cross, was the most highly decorated airman of the 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 school in Taunton in Somerset and Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, Blackburn, Lancashire.

In December 1937 he joined the RAF as an Officer cadet, attaining his pilot's wings in August 1938.

For those of you fluent in Russian, here is another reference: Брэхем Джон Боб