Alfred Brandon (RAF officer)

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Alfred de Bathe Brandon
Born (1883-06-21)21 June 1883
Wellington, New Zealand
Died 19 June 1974(1974-06-19) (aged 90)
Upper Hutt, New Zealand
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch Royal Flying Corps
Royal Air Force
Years of service 1915–1919
Rank Major
Unit No. 19 Reserve Aeroplane Squadron RFC
No. 39 (Home Defence) Squadron RFC
Commands held No. 50 Squadron
Battles/wars World War I
Awards Distinguished Service Order
Military Cross
Other work Lawyer

Alfred de Bathe (Bath) Brandon DSO MC (21 July 1883 – 19 June 1974) was a New Zealand lawyer and military aviator who served in the First World War, and was credited with the destruction of two Zeppelin airships.


Brandon was born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 21 July 1883. He was the son of the Mayor of Wellington, Alfred Brandon and grandson of the Member of the House of Representatives (MHR), also called Alfred Brandon.[1] He was educated at Wellington College and Canterbury College, Christchuch, before going to England to study law at Trinity College, Cambridge.[2]

Brandon was practising law for his father's company 'Brandon, Hislop and Johnston' in Wellington when the war broke out in August 1914. He gave up his job and resigned his commission in the 5th (Wellington) Regiment in order to travel to England,[3] where he learned to fly at the Hall Flying School at Hendon at his own expense, gaining Royal Aero Club Aviator's Certificate No. 1905 on 17 October 1915.[1][4] He joined the Royal Flying Corps, receiving a commission as a probationary second lieutenant on 8 December 1915,[5] which was confirmed on 8 March 1916.[6]

On 1 April 1916, flying a B.E.2e fighter of No. 19 Reserve Aeroplane Squadron, he succeeded in attacking Zeppelin L 15 using Ranken darts. It subsequently came down in the sea, and although the airship had already been damaged by anti-aircraft fire, his efforts won him the Military Cross.[7][8]

On 4 October 1916 he was appointed a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order, "in recognition of his gallantry and distinguished service in connection with the successful attack on Enemy Airships",[9] following the shooting down of Zeppelin L 33 by No. 39 (Home Defence) Squadron.[10]

During 1917–1918 he was the commanding officer of 50 Squadron,[11] and was promoted to major in January 1918.

Brandon returned to New Zealand in early 1919 and assisted in the preparation of a report on New Zealand air defences, before returning to his law practise. He died in Upper Hutt on 19 June 1974.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Bentley, Geoffrey. "Alfred de Bathe Brandon". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 23 April 2017. 
  2. ^ Lam, Nathan (2011). "A. de B. Brandon". Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Bentley, Geoffrey (2014). "Alfred de Bathe Brandon". NZHistory. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  4. ^ "Aviators' Certificates". Flight. VII (357): 829. 29 October 1915. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  5. ^ "No. 29456". The London Gazette (Supplement). 28 January 1916. p. 1217. 
  6. ^ "No. 29500". The London Gazette (Supplement). 7 March 1916. p. 2532. 
  7. ^ Cole & Cheesman (1984), p.119
  8. ^ "No. 12939". The Edinburgh Gazette. 18 May 1916. p. 881. 
  9. ^ "No. 29773". The London Gazette (Supplement). 3 October 1916. p. 9635. 
  10. ^ "Memorial To No. 39 (H.D.) Squadron". Flight. XXIV (1221): 454. 20 May 1932. Retrieved 18 August 2014. 
  11. ^ Cole & Cheesman (1984), p.169
  • Cole, Christopher & Cheesman, E. F. (1984). The Air Defence of Great Britain 1914–1918. London: Putnam. p. 119. ISBN 0-370-30538-8. 

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