Brian Carbury

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Brian John George Carbury
DFC*
Born (1918-02-27)27 February 1918
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 31 July 1961(1961-07-31) (aged 43)
Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1937–1941
Rank Flight Lieutenant
Unit No. 41 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars

Second World War

Awards Distinguished Flying Cross & Bar

Flight Lieutenant Brian John George Carbury DFC* (27 February 1918–31 July 1961) was a New Zealand fighter ace of the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.[1] He was credited with being one of three "aces in a day" in the Battle of Britain as he shot down five aircraft on 31 August 1940. The others were Archie McKellar, a British pilot, and Antoni Glowacki of Poland.

Biography[edit]

The 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) son of a Wellington, New Zealand veterinarian, Brian John George Carbury was raised in Auckland where he attended King's College from 1932 to 1934. He joined Farmers’ Trading Co. on leaving school, but sick of the job as a shoe salesman,[2] he headed to the United Kingdom in 1937 to join the Royal Navy. Being told he was too old, he joined the Royal Air Force on a short service commission as an Acting Pilot Officer.[3]

June 1938 – July 1940[edit]

Carbury joined No. 41 Squadron RAF in June 1938, his rank was confirmed on 27 September 1938,[4] flying the Hawker Fury. In August 1939 he was posted to RAF Turnhouse near Edinburgh, Scotland with No. 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron of the Auxiliary Air Force as training officer, flying Spitfires. As an Auxiliary Air Force squadron, No. 603 were week-end 'part-time' airmen doing other jobs during the week. But as war approached the squadron was put onto a full-time footing and Carbury was permanently attached from the outbreak of World War II in September 1939. During the Phoney War, No. 603 gained pilots P.O Richard Hillary—later the author of The Last Enemy; and B. G. 'Stapme' Stapleton who shot down Franz von Werra, the only German PoW to escape and return to the Third Reich.

Scotland was far away from the more accessible targets in the south of England, but was in range for the Luftwaffe's long range bombers and reconnaissance aircraft shadowing the Royal Navy's Home Fleet in Northern Scotland and the North Sea. On 16 October a section of 603 was scrambled and shot down a Junkers Ju-88 bomber into the North Sea east of Dalkeith, the first German aircraft to be shot down over British territory since 1918. Carbury probably destroyed an Heinkel He 111 on 7 December, and claimed a third share in the destruction of another He 111 during January 1940. Carbury was promoted to Flying Officer on 27 April 1940.[5]

August 1940 – October 1940[edit]

In light of RAF Fighter Command's dire need for pilots in the battles over southern England during August 1940, No. 603 redeployed to RAF Hornchurch, becoming active in the Battle of Britain from 27 August 1940.

Carbury claimed his first victory on 29 August, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighter. He claimed another on the 30th, and three more on the 31st, together with two He 111's[6] - taking his total to 8 and 1/3, and making him a fighter ace. Hillary was shot down on 3 September in combat with Bf 109's of Jagdgeschwader 26 off Margate at 10:04hrs - rescued by the Margate lifeboat, he was severely burned and spent the next three years in hospital.[7] In September Carbury claimed three more Bf 109's, and after sustaining wounds to his feet during actions in September, his efforts were recognised by the award of the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC). The award was gazetted on 24 September 1940:[8]

Air Ministry, 24th September, 1940.

ROYAL AIR FORCE

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the undermentioned appointment and awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy : —

[...]

Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Flying Officer Brian John George CARBURY (40288).

During operations on the North East coast Flying Officer Carbury led his section in an attack on two enemy aircraft. Both were destroyed. From 28th August, 1940, to 2nd September, 1940, he has, with his squadron, been almost continuously engaged against large enemy raids over Kent, and has destroyed eight enemy aircraft. Five of these were shot down during three successive engagements in one day.

Carbury continued his toll of victories in October, as the German's intensified their high-level fighter-bomber attacks on London. His first two victories for the month were a Bf109 over the Thames Estuary on the 2nd, and another in southeast London on 7 October. Based at RAF Manston on the 10th, Carbury noticed three Bf 109's returning to northern France—leading three Spitfires into attack, he shot the first in to the English Channel, and a second on to the beach at Dunkirk. On 14 October, he damaged a Junkers Ju 88.

The official end of the Battle of Britain came at the end of October, when Carbury was awarded a Bar to the DFC—one of fewer than five pilots given the double award for victories claimed during the period of the Battle of Britain. With destruction of 15 enemy aircraft destroyed (and 2 victories shared destroyed), 2 probables and 5 damaged,[9] Carbury was among the five top-scoring pilots in RAF Fighter Command and the top scorer against Bf 109s [10] during the Battle of Britain along with Eric Lock. The award of the bar to his DFC was gazetted on 25 October 1940:[11]

Air Ministry, 25th October, 1940.

ROYAL AIR FORCE.

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the following appointment and awards in recognition of gallantry displayed in flying operations against the enemy:—

[...]

Awarded a Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross.

[...]

Flying Officer Brian John George CARBURY, D.F.C. (40288).

Flying Officer Carbury has displayed outstanding gallantry and skill in engagements against the enemy. Previous to 8th September, 1940, this officer shot down eight enemy aircraft, and shared in the destruction of two others. Since that date he has destroyed two Messerschmitt 109-5 and two Heinkel 113's, and, in company with other pilots of his squadron, also assisted in the destruction of yet another two enemy aircraft. His cool courage in the face of the enemy has been a splendid example to other pilots of his squadron.

December 1940 onwards[edit]

No. 603 Squadron and Carbury returned to Scotland on scheduled rotation in December 1940. On Christmas Day Carbury was scrambled to intercept a Junker Ju 88 reported off St Abb's Head, inflicting damage before the German aircraft turned for home.

Early in 1941 Carbury was posted to be an instructor at the Central Flying School and then 58 OTU at Grangemouth, and did not fly operationally in combat again. Unfortunately later that year he was charged with fraud after being accused of passing between 9 and 17 false cheques, an offence that at the time could attract a prison sentence. At his RAF court martial, he was found guilty and on 21 October 1941 the London Gazette announced: "Flg. Off. B. J. G. CARBURY, DFC (40288), to be dismissed the Service by sentence of General Court-Martial. 1 Oct 1941." [12]

Hillary on Carbury[edit]

In his book The Last Enemy, Richard Hillary said of Carbury:[2]

I thought of the men I had known, of the men who were living and the men who were dead; and I came to this conclusion. It was to the Carburys and the Berrys [Alan Berry] of this war that Britain must look, to the tough practical men who had come up the hard way, who were not fighting this war for any philosophical principles or economic ideals; who, unlike the average Oxford undergraduate, were not flying for aesthetic reasons, but because of an instinctive knowledge that this was the job for which they were most suited. These were the men who had blasted and would continue to blast the Luftwaffe out of the sky while their more intellectual comrades would, alas, in the main be killed. They might answer, if asked why they fought, 'To smash Hitler!' But instinctively, inarticulately, they too were fighting for the things that Peter had died to preserve.

Combat Record[edit]

Date Service Flying Kills Probables Notes
7 December 1939 Royal Air Force Spitfire Damaged 1 *Heinkel He 111 Flying from RAF Turnhouse
7 March 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1/2 * Heinkel He 111
3 July 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1/3 * Junkers Ju 88
29 August 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 *Messerschmitt Bf 109 Flying from RAF Manston
30 August 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109 Fw. Ernst Arnold of 3/JG27[13]
31 August 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 2 * Heinkel He 113
3 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
September, 1940 Awarded DFC
2 September 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
7 September 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 2 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
14 September 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
2 October 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
7 October 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 1 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
10 October 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire 2 * Messerschmitt Bf 109
14 October 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire Damaged Junkers Ju 88
October, 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire Awarded DFC Bar
25 December 1940 Royal Air Force Spitfire Damaged Junkers Ju 88 Flying from RAF Turnhouse
TOTALS 15½ kills 0 probable

Post war[edit]

After leaving the RAF, he lived in England until his death in July 1962.[14] In 1949, he along with three others, in a trial at Princes Risborough Magistrates' Court, was found guilty of two offences relating to the illegal export of Bristol Beaufighters to Palestine.[15] Each man was fined a total of £100.[15] The defence solicitor described the four as "stooges" of a fifth man who had remained in Palestine.[15]

Death[edit]

In 1961, Carbury was diagnosed with terminal acute leukaemia and died soon after in High Wycombe Hosptial (then the War Memorial Hospital). He was later cremated at Breakspear crematorium near Ruislip. A memorial to his memory was erected in his home town of Wellington, New Zealand.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Aces of New Zealand Aces of WW2
  2. ^ a b Richard Hillary (December 2005). "The Last Enemy - A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook". gutenberg.net.au. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 
  3. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34463. p. 7856. 14 December 1937. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34558. p. 6201. 4 October 1938. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  5. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34849. pp. 2895–2896. 14 May 1940. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  6. ^ "Birain Carbury - Combat Report". spitfireperformance.com. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  7. ^ Bio of Richard Hillary the-battle-of-britain.co.uk
  8. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34951. p. 5654. 24 September 1940. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  9. ^ Aces High, Shores & Williams , page 165
  10. ^ [1], Spitfire vs Bf 109 by Tony Holmes, Osprey Publishing.
  11. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34978. pp. 6192–6193. 25 October 1940. Retrieved 2008-01-08.
  12. ^ The London Gazette: no. 35319. p. 6112. 21 October 1941. Retrieved 2012-11-24.
  13. ^ Posart.com - The Aviation Art of Mark Postlethwaite GAvA
  14. ^ Brian Carbury Bio at the New Zealand Fighter Pilots Museum. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  15. ^ a b c "Aeroplanes flown to Palestine — Four pilots fined — Refuelled in Yugoslavia" (pdf, subscription required). The Times digital archive (Infotrac, Gale Group). 26 April 1949. p. Issue 51365, Page 2, Column B. Retrieved 2008-01-08. 

External links[edit]