Second World War
Artifact W2-01: Medal Set – Braham
Submitted by: Michael Braham, Capt (N) (Ret’d)
Group Captain John (Bob) Braham was the most decorated British Commonwealth fighter pilot of World War II. His medals, pictured above include the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and two bars, the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and two bars, the Air Force Cross (AFC), the Belgian Order of the Crown with Palm, and the Belgian Croix de Guerre with Palm. As such, they are a unique medal set.
Flying Blenheims and Beaufighters in the night fighter role he shot down twenty enemy aircraft and damaged six others. In a long-range intruder role, flying Mosquitos, he destroyed a further nine enemy aircraft, attacked German road and rail transport, and, on one occasion, strafed a surfaced U-Boat.
On 25 June 1944 while returning from an intruder mission over Denmark, Norway and NW Germany, he was attacked by two FW-190s and shot down by one piloted by Leutnant Robert Spreckels. He ditched in the North Sea off the Danish coast but was picked up by a German patrol. He spent the remainder of the war in Stalag Luft III near Sagan.
He remained in the Royal Air Force until 1952 when he transferred to the RCAF and emigrated to Canada. His RCAF career included command of 3 Operational Training Unit at North Bay, and command of 432 Squadron at Bagotville.
During his time in Canada he was re-united with Robert Spreckels and the two became firm friends. He died in 1974 at the age of 53.
He wrote an autobiography of his experiences. Originally published in 1961 under the title, “Scramble”, it has been reprinted several times under the title, “Night Fighter”. The latest version was printed in 1992.