Flight Sergeant Eric Braddock - 102 Squadron  
   

Flight Sergeant Eric Braddock  - RAFVR

 

 Flight Sergeant Eric Braddock was piloting Halifax Mk.BIII LW192 coded DY-H for an operation to Sterkrade June 16/17, 1944. The aircraft departed Pocklington at 2300hrs and encountered poor weather with thick cloud covering the target area and the Pathfinder markers. The Halifax was intercepted by a night-fighter, possibly Hugo F Futscher NJG3 or Adolf Breves, at 0201 hours, and subsequently exploded at 0203 hours, scattering debris from the Halifax between Bourmalsen (Gelderland) and Buren. The entire crew was killed.

The crew consisted of:

Name Service Trade Hometown Age
F/Sgt Eric Braddock  RAFVR Pilot Norwood, London 22
Sgt Enrico Zaccheo  RAFVR Flight Engineer Standish, Gloucestershire 32
Sgt Winston Reid RAFVR Navigator Peel, Isle of Man 26
Sgt Ronald Putt  RAFVR W/Op/AG Keyham, Devon 20
Sgt John Booker  RAFVR Bomb Aimer Sidcup, Kent 21
Sgt Ernest Finch  RAFVR Front Gunner East Ham, Essex 21
Sgt Gerald Hadfield  RAFVR M/U Gunner Sutton-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire 21

 

 F/Sgt Eric Frederick Minshall Braddock RAFVR was the only son of Henry and Elsie Braddock (nee Jones).  His parents had divorced and Ericís father, a light bulb producer and electrician, lived in Norwood, London and his mother, Elsie in Chadderton, Oldham, Lancashire.

 Eric volunteered for the air force, applying for his commission in early 1944 but his commission came through while out on his last and final mission and he took off as a F/Sgt and was killed as a P/O. Eric was a young man who was full of life and energy and his mother, Elsie, a staff Sgt in a NAAFI, was devastated when he was killed. She always found his birthday each year particularly hard to bear and died in 1987 aged 85.Eric was engaged and after he was killed, his fiancťe returned the ring to Elsie but sadly it was to be stolen in a house burglary. In 1956/7 the British Legion took Elsie, her niece and other families over to visit the graves of the crew in the Buren General Cemetery.

Eric and his crew.

 In the aftermath of the crash of Eric's Halifax, a member of the Dutch underground movement buried the crew. In the same cemetery rested the bodies of some German casualties, which after the war had finished were re interred back in Germany. Ericís mother and niece made a trip to Ericís grave in Buren in 1956/7.This was organised by the British Legion for relations of the crew. When Elsie (Ericís mother) enquired as to the whereabouts of the German graves, she was told that she was mistaken and that they didnít exist. However when she explained that she had a photo of the graves, she was told that the Germans bodies had been re patriated.

 F/Sgt Braddock and his crew rest in the Buren General cemetery.

Photos and information  courtesy of Tracie Minshall-Jones, research by Linda Ibrom