Guy Branch

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Guy Rawstron Branch
Guy Rawstron Branch.jpg
Birth name Guy Rawstron Branch
Born 1913
London, England
Died 11 August 1940 (aged 26)
English Channel
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1937-1940
Rank Flying Officer
Service number 90137
Unit No. 601 Squadron RAF
No. 145 Squadron RAF
Battles/wars

World War II

Awards Empire Gallantry Medal
Relations Charles Churchill Branch (Father)
Mary Madelaine Bernadette Branch (née Rawstron) (Mother)

Flying Officer Guy Rawstron Branch EGM (1913–1940) was a Royal Air Force fighter pilot, one of The Few. He was killed in action on 11 August 1940. After his death the next-of-kin were obliged to exchange his Empire Gallantry Medal for a George Cross which had been created in 1940.

Early life[edit]

Branch was born in 1913 in London, the son of Charles Churchill Branch and Mary Madelaine Bernadette Branch (née Rawstron). He was educated at Eton and Balliol College, Oxford.[1] On 7 May 1937 he was commissioned as Pilot Officer in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. On 25 March 1939 in Lewes he married Lady Prudence Mary Pelham, daughter of the 6th Earl of Chichester.

Accident and award[edit]

On 8 January 1938 Branch was a student pilot was flying as a passenger in a Hawker Demon with Pilot Officer Crawley when it crashed and burst into flames at RAF Upavon.[2] Branch escaped but then returned to the aircraft to free the trapped pilot and pull him clear. For his actions he was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal on 25 March 1938[2]

[3]

On 9th January, 1938 an aircraft in which Pilot Officer Branch was a passenger crashed at Upavon, Wiltshire, and immediately burst into flames. Having extricated himself from the burning aircraft this officer found that the pilot was trapped in the cockpit by his legs. Despite the danger of the petrol tank exploding, Pilot Officer Branch returned to the blazing wreckage and, whilst actually standing on burning debris, succeeded in extracting the pilot. There is little doubt that this prompt and gallant act saved the pilot's life. The aircraft was completely destroyed by fire.

— London Gazette[4]

Battle of Britain[edit]

During the Battle of Britain Branch by then a Flying Officer was a Hawker Hurricane pilot with 145 Squadron. On 8 August 1940 he was credited with destroying two Junkers Ju 87s. A few days later on 11 August 1940 while flying Hurricane serial number P9251 he was killed in action over the English channel. [3]

Branch was buried in the churchyard at Quiberville, France.[5] His name recorded on the Battle of Britain Monument in London[6] and at the Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Personal Tribute - Flying Officer G.R. Branch E.G.M." (Obituaries). The Times (London). Wednesday, 5 March 1941. (48866), col C, p. 7.
  2. ^ a b "Air Pilot's Life Saved Medal Awarded To A.A.F. Officer" (News). The Times (London). Saturday, 26 March 1938. (47953), col B, p. 17.
  3. ^ a b "Fallen Officers - Royal Air Force" (Obituaries). The Times (London). Tuesday, 4 February 1941. (48841), col B, p. 9.
  4. ^ The London Gazette: no. 34496. p. 2003. 25 March 1938. Retrieved 25 March 2010.
  5. ^ "Casualty Details - BRANCH, GUY RAWSTRON". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 25 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "List of British Pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain". Battle of Britain London Monument. 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2010.