WWII POW group to AAF Pilot shot down with RAF - 622 Squadron
Posted 28 July 2017 - 08:10 AM
Kurt - Again - a fabulous group & story. I had a group to an American-RCAF trained gunner who was transferred to the USAAF while in an RAF squadron but remained with his RAF squadron to complete his combat tour. He was awarded the British DFM, officially named to him as TSgt USAAF. He was also awarded a US DFC and Air Medals for his missions with the RAF! Best regards - Bob
Posted 02 October 2018 - 07:08 PM
James Braithwaite was/is my father, he was the pilot of Lancaster LL782, and is an american. it was shot down by a German night fighter. at the beginning of the war my father saw news stories concerning the eagle squadron fighter pilots (american volunteer group), and wanted to join the us army air core, and become a fighter pilot. at that time, only college graduates were eligible for army air core pilot training. instead, he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and completed flight training in Saskatoon Saskatchewan Canada. (Canada, and the RAF did not require a college degree). after flight training, he went on to became a flight instructor, training other pilots. in due time, he was transferred to the RAF, and assigned to bomber command, and transitioned into flying 2 engine, and 4 engine bombers. he was then assigned to the 12th replacement depot, and was assigned a flight crew that had lost their skipper. (each new crew member would go on a mission with an experienced crew as part of learning process. in this instance, their skipper, and the bomber he was on never returned). my father, and his crew flew 10 successful missions in the Lancaster. but on their 11th, they were attacked by a German night fighter over France. one of its engines was hit, prop blown off, plane caught fire, and went into a dive. my father was able regain control, level out, and the surviving crew were able to bail out. (both rear gunners were killed). my father being the last one out, was severely burned on his face, and arms. the french underground recovered him, but he was so badly burned, that they ended up turning him over to the Germans for medical treatment. two of his crew evaded capture, one was caught, and taken prisoner, the flight engineer was killed when bailing out. my father spent 22 days in a french hospital, before being transferred to stalog luft 3. later on, he, along with most of stalog luft 3 pow's were transferred to stalog 7a. he was held prisoner their until being liberated by the american army at the end of the war. he returned to the US at the end of the war, and was a reserve office with the us air force. not having a college degree, he was eventually discharged. this period of his life was indeed his "glory days", and the stories were vivid in detail. its been 21 years since he passed away (at the age of 79), and i miss him every day. all the paper work you have, along with the medal came from his mother Alma. they had a bad falling out in the late 60's, and he had no contact with her after that. i assume when she died, her husband (that was my fathers step dad, and much younger than her) disposed of all the belongings in the house that were not important to him. the house was sold, and torn down for redevelopment. any questions, i would be happy to answer. adrian
Posted 03 October 2018 - 05:36 PM
I would consider your Father's items , one of the more fascinating groupings of material to an American POW in WWII that I own. There is a lot I did not publish on this thread as far as research and actual correspondence.
I would be happy to scan anything for you that you want. There are additional photographs too. I also have copies from the 622 Squadron unit diary that I obtained.
Its a miracle this all didn't get scattered to the winds over the years.
Posted 04 October 2018 - 04:09 PM
anything would be most appreciated. my son just started college recently, and is going for a air force ROTC scholarship. we got to talking about my dads past, so i pulled out his old military records (what i have) and started to piece things together. i have a lot of information, but a lot is missing. i intend to create a full time line of his military career. thanks for the reply, adrian
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