Tag Archives: Airspeed Oxford

The Broodbank Collection – Catalogue now available!

At long last, I have catalogued the various items in my grandfather’s collection. You can see a complete list of all archive material by following this link.

This is still a bit of a work in progress, as there are currently no links to images etc, but in time this page should allow researchers to view the material in my collection.

As ever, if you want to get in contact about this or any other page on the site, please use the Contact page.

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The End

Although Broody remained with 488(NZ) Squadron until a posting out to No.1 Radio School at RAF Cranwell on 05/x/44, no more operational or readiness flights were flown, and so this story has come to an end.

It would be near on impossible to summarise in this post what has been quite a year in the life of a young man who joined the RAF straight from Cambridge University in 1942. Fortunately, the ever meticulous Broody can provide a summary of the tour himself as recorded in his journal.

Summary of First Operational Tour 4-ix-43 to 11-X-44

Summary of First Operational Tour
4-ix-43 to 11-X-44

Recorded in Broody’s Flying Log is his end of tour “Proficiency Assessment” from the Squadron’s CO, W/Cdr Haine. The assessment was “above Average”, with the CO commenting:

“Very keen and intelligent”

Broody's End of Tour Proficiency Assessment

Broody’s End of Tour Proficiency Assessment

Broody remained in the RAF until 1946, gaining a regular commission in 1945 and eventually reaching the rank of Flight Lieutenant. I do not have as much information on his later roles as I do for this tour, but maybe one day I will tell the next part of the story.

I am the proud custodian of Broody’s wartime medals. By the time hostilities ceased, Broody had been awarded 3 medals and one clasp.

The war medals of Andrew John Broodbank - RAAF

The war medals of Andrew John Broodbank – RAF

From left to right, the medals are:

1) 1939-45 Star (Awarded for 2 months operational service as aircrew between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945)

2) Air Crew Europe Star (Awarded for 2 months operational flying over Europe, from UK bases between 3 September 1939 and 5 June 1944 – The qualifying period started after receipt of the 1939-45 Star)

3) France & Germany clasp on Air Crew Europe Star (Awarded for a minimum of 1 day’s operational service in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Germany from 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945 – Rules dictated that the France and Germany Star would not be awarded to those already in receipt of the Air Crew Europe Star, only a clasp was to be worn)

4) War Medal 1939–1945 (Awarded to those who had served in the Armed Forces or Merchant Navy full-time for at least 28 days between 3 September 1939 and 2 September 1945)

There is just one more part of this story to tell – and for me, perhaps the most important as it is the reason I am here today. While at RAF Cranwell, Broody met a young WAAF officer, S/O Margaret Jean Weeks who was a Meteorological Officer.

SO Margaret Jean Weeks (WAAF)

S/O Margaret Jean Weeks (WAAF)

In her latter years, my grandmother took time to record some of her wartime experiences. Amongst these was the story of how she first met the man who was to become her future husband.

“One evening I went with several others from our Mess to a party at another Mess (Signals). This became somewhat drunken. I remember one game where you held a poker on the floor and ran round and round it. One soon became very giddy and could fall into the nearest lap available.

I still drank hardly at all, so I was sober and beginning to think how stupid everyone else appeared, when someone suggested a dance and someone else said, ‘Broody can play the piano’. Broody was dragged out of his room (having just returned from the cinema in a nearby town) and he played the piano.

Not long afterwards, we WAAF Officers left to return to our own Mess. Next day, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day. Cycling to the met Office, I saw someone outside the Parachute Section who seemed to be looking at me. Not wearing my glasses, of course, I couldn’t see who it was, but called out ‘Good morning,’ as I passed.

This bod turned out to be John (‘Broody’) and he followed me to see where I went. Well, air crew were always coming into the Met Office to ask for forecasts etc, and they knew they might also get a cup of tea there as well (or rather, a mug). So that, really, is how we met.”

On 17th March 1945 (her 22nd birthday), my grandmother recorded in her diary:

“Birthday. Glorious, every one so kind. Cycle to wood in pm & John proposes. Dinner in mess afterwards and have a drink with it. Phone home.”

Just over a week later on 25th, she wrote:

“Home. John & I fly home in 42 mins. Tell Mother, Dad & Geoff of our engagement. They are so sweet & kind. Awful journey back.”

Of course, Broody can add to this part of the story with his record of the flight in his journal.

25th March 1945 10:05
AIRSPEED OXFORD II LB425
Pilot: F/O Swaby
2nd Pilot: Lt. Edmundson
Navigator: Self
Passenger: S/O Weeks
BASE ~ RINGWAY
To arrange an engagement! Flying at 2-3,000ft above & through cloud & a cold front which had shown every promise of stopping the trip – cloud being at 200ft at Ringway at time of take off from Cranwell. Excellent Pilot.
0:42

He has even included the weather forecast for the trip, prepared by my grandmother!

Weather forecast by S/O Weeks for the "Engagement Flight" from Cranwell to Ridgeway.

Weather forecast by S/O Weeks for the “Engagement Flight” from Cranwell to Ridgeway.

Broody & Jean were married in at St. Mary’s church in Cheadle on 6th April 1946 and went on to live a long and happy life together. They had 2 daughters, 4 grandchildren, and 8 great-grandchildren.

Just Married - 6th April 1946

The newly married Mr & Mrs Broodbank on the steps of St Mary’s Church, Cheadle
6th April 1946

Jean & John Broodbank

In the garden of their home in Surbiton in the 1990s

I hope that you have enjoyed following Broody’s tour in “real time” as much as I have enjoyed researching and writing about his experiences. I have learned a lot, not only about my Grandfather’s role in the war, but about 488(NZ) Squadron, his aircrew colleagues – many of whom I now feel that I know personally, and the role of Night Fighters during the war.

But above all, as each part of the story has unfolded, I have felt hugely proud of the part Broody played in the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Of course, we must not forget the 21 men of 488(NZ) Squadron who were killed during Broody’s tour. Broody never spoke to me of these losses. These names, and links to Commonwealth War Graves Commission pages for them are all recorded on the Roll of Honour Page of this blog, but the final page in the journal, and therefore the best place for this story to end lists all these men in Broody’s meticulous hand.

I wonder how he felt as he wrote down the names of colleagues and friends who made the ultimate sacrifice? I ask you to think about that as you once again read the names of these few men, who amongst thousands of others, gave up their lives for our futures.

The casualties of 488(NZ) Squadron between September 1943 and October 1944. ~Their Name Liveth For Evermore~

The casualties of 488(NZ) Squadron between September 1943 and October 1944.
~Their Name Liveth For Evermore~

And there we are – the rest, as they say, is history.


17/ix/44 – Last flight with Jack Scott

"The last flight with F/O Scott"

“The last flight with F/O Scott”

Today, I have decided to let you see the journal entry in Broody’s own hand. A round trip to RAF Levesden, where de Havilland Mosquitos were assembled, to collect some spares.

Of note firstly is the account of the 1st Airbourne Division’s flight to Arnhem on their way to one of the most famous European battles of World War 2.

Most poignantly, the final sentence reads simply: “The last flight with F/O Scott” – 6 words to record the end of a partnership which lasted almost the entire duration of Broody’s tour with the Squadron.

In all, Broody and Jack flew together on 228 occasions, with flight times ranging from 5 minutes (take off and landing on identifying an A/C fault) to 3 hours and 55 minutes on a Patrol.

Their time in the air together as Pilot and Navigator comes just 20 minutes short of 295 hours. That equates to over 12 days of flying time!

Jack left the Squadron on 19/ix/44 to join 315 Maintenance Unit in India. As I have said before, I think he and Broody lost touch after the war – The world was a much bigger place in 1945 before the Internet.

The only record I have of any contact between them after September 1944 is a “bluey” from Jack to Broody dated February 1945. It is an interesting read, and I do not think either of them would mind if I shared it here.

I have transcribed the letter below the scanned images.

Jack Scott letter-page1
Jack Scott letter-page2
Jack Scott letter-page3

Dear Broody,

Sorry for being such a long time writing. I must have caught the Indian idea of not doing today what can be put off until next year.

Life out here isn’t too bad really but I’m very pleased that I only have two more months to do before going home. This would be quite a good job if only there was more of it. I do both singles and twins and am thinking of doing a “heavy” conversion if I have time. Compared to sqdn flying though its very tame.

The weather is always fine and vis is usually fifty miles, and apart from the first few hours in a new type its just stooging around. I had the controls come adrift in a spit about Xmas and had to jump over the side, made a very heavy landing in a tree but apart from a few bruises was ok. Got caught by the AOC beating up the place in another Spit and did orderly officer for a week and those have been the only exciting moments.

I believe old Ron is now CO. He will be better at that than he was a CO flight under Haines. I hope old Brownie got the flight. It should be rather a decent squadron now and except for being married and going home I’d give anything to be back with it. I have heard from the folk at home that I’ve been mentioned in despatches, but nothing official. Don’t know what for though except for our one Beau.

How goes the course. They are short of that trade out here so you may finish up out this way. Old Proc is the only one I’ve heard from. He is assistant accounts at Warmwell so he has landed quite a good job, only a few miles from his home too.

The climate just now is very good, about 90 every day and cool at night and every day the same. The people are not so good though. The poorer ones live like animals and the rich ones like lords. There doesn’t seem to be any inbetween. Bombay and Delhi are rather decent towns and Colombo. There are some very rough spots in all of them though.

Our best sport is taking up army types in the back of a Beau and giving them the works. Our old jobs are limited to 250 mph so we can’t do much in them at present. Well old chap I’ll have to finish off. These don’t hold much but they go fast. Cheerio for now.

Yours sincerely.
Jack Scott


25/viii/44 – Cross-Country taxi service!

25th August 13:45
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
NFT & CINE-GUN
Camera on a dakota & a shoot-up at Zeals
0:45

15:10
AIRSPEED OXFORD II X7293
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
Passenger: W/O Addison DFC DFM
BASE ~ NORTHOLT
To drop W/O Addison
0:40

15:55
Less W/O Addison
NORTHOLT ~ HORSHAM ~ NEWCHURCH
For F/Lt Carcasson
0:40

17:50
Passenger: F/Lt Carcasson
NEWCHURCH ~ HORSHAM ~ BASE
Navigator driving & map reading – nearly through the Anti-Diver balloon barrage
1:10

This wonderful photo of a barrage balloon of Balloon Command floating just above the ground, near Biggin Hill, Kent is just too good not to share! In the background a number of airborne balloons are visible.

balloons

A barrage balloon of Balloon Command floating just above the ground, near Biggin Hill, Kent
© IWM (TR 2161)

 

A section of the barrage-balloon defence put up against the flying bomb over the South Downs.

A mass of barrage balloons seen from above – maybe something like Broody faced today!
© IWM (CH 13806)

 

 


10/viii/44 – Collecting the motorbike from RAF Odiham

10th August 15:40
AIRSPEED OXFORD II T1018
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
2nd Navigator: F/Lt Carcasson
Passenger: F/Lt Williams
Passenger: LAC Wright
BASE ~ ODIHAM
To collect the motorbike
0:30


08/viii/44 – Return from France

8th August 18:10
AIRSPEED OXFORD II T1018
Pilot: F/O Cook
2nd Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/Lt Carcasson
A.15 ~ Cap de la HAGUE ~ LULWORTH COVE ~ BASE
In time for dinner
1:10


07/viii/44 – 48 hour pass and a trip to France

7th August 15:35
Airspeed Oxford II T1018
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: F/O Cook
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/Lt Carcasson
BASE ~ HENGISTBURY HEAD ~ Point de BARFLEUR ~ ALG A-15
Tyre burst on landing as a start to a 48 / “liaison” visit. Dinner at 21 Base Defence Sector HQ at Tocqueville Chateau, an evening in St Pierre Eglise & then to GCI 15072 (Robust) near Barfleur. Slept on the floor of the library & next morning to the airfield to check on the A/C, then into Cherbourg.
1:05

As A Flight came off the state and handed over to B Flight, Broody, Jack Scott, Bill Cook and George Carcasson went on a 48 hour period of leave, and flew to France on a visit. ALG A-15 was an Advanced Landing Ground, a temporary airfield use to support the invasion of mainland Europe. A-15 was located in Maupertus-sur-Mer, some 7 miles ENE of Cherbourg. Today it is Cherbourg Airport (Aéroport de Cherbourg – Maupertus).

Broody has pasted a couple of postcards into his journal that are worth sharing.

The church door - St Pierre-Eglise

The church door – St Pierre-Eglise

Tocqueville chateau - 21 Base Defence Sector HQ

Tocqueville chateau – 21 Base Defence Sector HQ

A bridge in St Pierre Eglise

A bridge in St Pierre Eglise

Also of note on the night of 06&07/viii/44 were further successes for the Squadron. The Jameson & Crookes crew claimed one JU88 destroyed and one damaged. Vlotman and Wood had an unsuccessful chase; but the most interesting combats of the night came from F/Lt Allen Browne and his navigator, W/O Tom Taylor. they were credited with the destruction of one Ju188 and two further unidentified enemy aircraft who both crashed into the ground during the chases. Browne’s personal Combat Report makes for interesting reading:

“At 0234 hours I was told to investigate a bogey at Angels 13 on a course of 280 degs. I climbed to Angels 12 an after being given several vectors contact was obtained 3 ½ miles above and to port. The target appeared to be weaving as many alterations of course were given me by my navigator.

I closed in and a visual was obtained at about 1500ft. slightly above and about 5 degs to port. The target was taking violent evasive action and while attempting to identify I overshot by reason of such evasive action. I pulled hard to port and lost a little height and contact was reobtained on turning back starboard. We closed in and I obtained another visual at 1000ft range above and dead ahead. I identified bogey as a JU188 and this was confirmed by my navigator using Ross night glasses.

The E/A continued violent evasive action. I closed to 250 yards range when the E/A momentarily ceased evasive action, and I opened fire with a 2 or 3 second burst. Strikes were observed in the port engine which burst into flames. E/A broke away to port. I followed him and closed in again giving him another burst of about the same duration. The E/A caught well alight peeled away to port and went down slowly at first and then with increasing speed hitting the ground in a mass of flames and with a violent explosion. I was then at Angels 5 and I called control and gave a fix.

Almost immediately Control took us over and asked us to investigate another bogey. After several vectors were obtained contact range 3 miles well above and dead ahead. I opened to full throttle and climbed to 10,000’ which was approx. bogey’s height. I saw a reddish amber light at a range of 4,000ft moving from port to starboard. I followed visual and pulled in at full throttle dead behind it. The light then commenced to dive and I followed at 350 ASI but failed to close range. The light was going down very steeply and at a constant angle, which I estimated to be 45 degs.

AI contact was maintained throughout but I followed without difficulty by sight. I could not identify as I saw no silhouette, but was satisfied in the dive that it was a very large singular circular light. The light hit the ground and exploded and a volume of fire was seen. The colour of the flame was reddish. I thought at first the object had navigation lights. This explosion is believed to have occurred roughly west of Rennes. No fix could be obtained though Tailcoat control was asked for one. An endeavour was made to obtain a fix from AI beacons but this was unsuccessful. I pulled out of the dive at 500ft and orbited the burning wreckage.

I then climbed to 5000ft and Tailcoat gave me a northerly vector and a little later asked us to investigate another bogey at about 12,000ft. I opened to full throttle. Contact was obtained range 3 miles 20 degs port at angels 12. Closed range very slowly though I was at full throttle. Visual, 1500 range dead ahead on an A/C taking exceptionally violent evasive action which was held by both visual and AI means. Visual having been lost by evasive action.

I could not identify as I could not close range and the bogey peeled off to starboard. I followed and experienced a long burst of fire from dorsal turret of aircraft, which burst went above my starboard mainplane. I turned to port still diving and lost visual. Contact was picked up again at 1 mile range, slightly below and 30 degs to starboard when we were at 3000’. I levelled out and closed in when visual was obtained at range 1000’ slightly below.

The A/C opened fire again with a very erratic burst and missed. The A/C was still continuing severe evasive action and half rolled to port, then going down vertically. This caused me to overshoot as I was not prepared to duplicate the aircraft’s manoeuvres at that low altitude. I did a hard turn to port at the same time losing height. At that juncture while in the hard turn my navigator and I saw a violent explosion on the ground with large volumes of flame over to port which would have been the aircraft’s approx. position.

By reason of the evasive action and the speed of events I was not able at any time throughout the chase to identify the aircraft, which was always below. I endeavoured throughout to position myself but was unsuccessful through the flying skill of the other pilot. I would add that I have never experienced such violent evasive action. The aircraft crashed at 0331 hours approx. SW of Rennes.

I claim 1 JU188 and 2 unidentified E/A destroyed.”


02/viii/44 – Patrol off Le Havre

2nd August 01:30
DH Mosquito XIII MM558 ME-E (A/I Mk.VIII)
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator (R): Self
PATROL – GCI 15083 (Radox)
In Le Havre & Caen area. No activity in the air but much on the ground. Recalled owing to weather & landed at Ford
(1 Ju88 destroyed by F/Lt PFL Hall & F/O Rd’A Marriott)
1:50

11:20
FORD ~ BASE
Weather quite fair
0:35

AIRSPEED OXFORD II T1018
14:25
Pilot: F/O Scott
Navigator: Self
Passenger: F/O Folley
BASE ~ SOUTH CERNEY
Roger going on a 48
0:20

14:50 (Less F/O Folley)
SOUTH CERNEY ~ NEWCHURCH
Missing the anti-diver balloons (on the left) & guns (on the right)
1:15

18:00
With F/Lt Carcasson & S/Ldr ??? RCAF (MO) as Passengers
NEWCHURCH ~ HESTON
To drop the S/Ldr
0:45

18:50
(Less S/Ldr ???)
HESTON ~ BASE
0:45

In addition to a one and a half hour long patrol in the early hours of the morning, Broody flew an additional 400 odd miles during the day!


06/vii/44 – Trip to Thorney Island

6th July 15:15
Airspeed Oxford II X7293
Pilot: S/Ldr Watts
2nd Pilot: F/Lt Thorpe
Navigator: Self
Navigator: F/O Graham
BASE ~ SAILSBURY ~ THORNEY ISLAND
Bumpy & hot – excellent visibility. TO take F/Lt Thorpe home.
0:35

16:40
THORNEY ISLAND ~ WINCHESTER ~ SAILSBURY ~ BASE
(Less F/Lt Thorpe)
Pilot navigating home
0:50


12/vi/44 – Social visit to Bradwell Bay

12th June 14:35
Airspeed Oxford II T1018
Pilot: F/O Scott
2nd Pilot: W/O Hughes
3rd Pilot: F/Sgt Green
Navigator: Self
Passenger: LAC Murrells
BASE ~ COLERNE
To drop F/Sgt Green for a “48”
[48 hour pass] in Bath.
0:15

15:00
(Less F/Sgt Green)
COLERNE ~ BRADWELL-on-SEA
Social Visit
1:00

21:40
(Less LAC Murrells)
BRADWELL-on-SEA ~ BASE
1:20

Given that the stated capacity of an Airspeed Oxford is 3 people, the trip from Zeals to Colerne must have been an bit of a tight squeeze!