Why this site?

In Honour of

Flight Sergeant BRAYBROOKE

Squadron Leader EMBLEM MiD

Flying Officer PICKARD

and

the 1010 other men and women who gave their life

while serving in Royal Air Force 38 Group

Armstrong Witworth Albemarle

Mickaël Oakey, Aeroplane Editor, asked in December 2002 issue of Aeroplane Magazine about a photographic reconnaissance pilot, Wing Commander Adrian Warbuton DSO & Bar, DFC & 2 Bars:

‘Why this pilot, one of Britain’s great aviation heroes of World War Two has remained in the shadows compared to household names such as Bader and Gibson?’

Were his achievements and bravery no less impressive than their? No. So why?
Mickaël Oakey gave two answers:

– Warbuton has never had a feature film about him, so his exploits have never reached a mass ambiance.

– The second answer is also in connection with the cinema but in a different way: Warbuton was a photographic reconnaissance pilot, a far less glamorous or cinematically attractive occupation than that of the fighter or bomber boys although equally dangerous.

This Website won’t talk about Reconnaissance Squadrons but what Mickaël Oakey wrote was totally in the same mind with the men tasks honoured in this Website: Some far less glamorous or cinematically attractive occupations than that of the fighter or bomber boys although equally dangerous.

As written on the great website of the Government of Canada about 437 (RCAF) Squadron of 46 Group – The sister Group of 38 Group – but can be applied to all the Squadrons of 38 and 46 Groups (*):

“The vital work of transport squadrons is rarely acknowledged in the annuals of military history as the vast majority of their time is spent on “routine” supply work. But when called upon, their crews are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice supporting the soldiers on the ground, doing their utmost to deliver their loads.

That’s why I decided to create a Website dedicated to the men and women who gave their lives while serving in the RAF 38 Group Squadrons during World War II. Two sections are also dedicated to 46 Group and the Air Despatchers of the Royal Army Service Corps who flew with them. I decided that I wouldn’t forget them.

But who am I and how did this story began?

My name is Bruno LECAPLAIN, I’m French and I was born in Granville, Normandy, France in 1970.
I’m an Associate Member of the Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire.
I work in the French Railways in Paris but my family home is in Bréhal near Granville.
But let’s go for the start of my 38 Group Story!

Several years ago, near my home in Normandy, I went with my mother to Muneville-sur-Mer Cemetery in order to find some of my family graves.
During the research, I saw a little place with 3 white Graves. I went to it and I read the name of 3 persons, the same date on each grave, 28 July 1944, and ‘Royal Air Force’.
I searched on the Web and I found this:

– These men were:

Flight Sergeant Fulke Henry Arthur BRAYBROOKE
Squadron Leader Lawrence Denis EMBLEM MiD
Flying Officer David PICKARD

– They were all attached to 297 Squadron, 38 Group, Royal Air Force, – a Glider Tug Squadron also working with SOE. But it was nearly all I found about this Squadron and its activities!

I began to make contacts and a day Jane Morris (the niece of David Pickard) and I had the chance to meet a great and wonderful man who lived just 50 meters from the field where the aircraft crashed.
He was a boy in 1944 and he witnessed the crash. An enormous wheel finished its way in his house and after several years, he always found some little pieces of the aircraft in his garden.
He remembered the night well. He always had a lot of emotion and tears came.
He allowed me to dig in the field to search for parts but I’d to leave Normandy for work so I couldn’t go on.
Unfortunately I never met this brave man again.
We will never forget him.

I decided that I would work for the memory of the 3 Graves of Muneville so with the help of many persons – like Wally Wallace, 297 Squadron, who gave me the 38 Group Roll of Honour – that I’ll never thank enough, I have created this Website first dedicated to 297 Squadron and later also naturally dedicated to the other 38 Group Squadrons and Units.
The Website will be regularly updated to honour these men and women who trained, fought, supplied and died for our liberty.
They deserve our remembrance.

This is the Story of the Royal Air Force World War II 38 Group Squadrons Reunited.

“PAR NOBILE FRATRUM”

Bruno LECAPLAIN

(*) https://www.canada.ca/en/department-national-defence/maple-leaf/rcaf/2019/08/operation-market-garden-437-squadron-s-baptism-of-fire.html

Next Page : Muneville Graves