Flying Officer John William BRACKEN MID

Service No: 423608
Born: Caulfield VIC, 10 October 1923
Enlisted in the RAAF: 18 July 1942 (at Sydney NSW)
Unit: No. 7 Squadron, Townsville QLD
Died: Aircraft Accident (No. 7 Squadron Beaufort aircraft A9-377), Higgins Field QLD, 2 July 1944, Aged 20 Years
Buried: Townsville War Cemetery, QLD
CWGC Additional Information: Son of Richard Thomas Bracken and Agnes Elizabeth Bracken, of Roseville, New South Wales.
Roll of Honour: Lismore NSW
Remembered: Panel 99, Commemorative Area, Australian War Memorial, Canberra ACT
Remembered: Lismore Cenotaph, Lismore NSW

MID Citation: Whilst bombing an enemy target at tree top height the starboard wing and aileron of the Beaufort aircraft, captained by Flight Sergeant Bracken was badly damaged by the premature explosion of a bomb dropped by another aircraft. With very little aileron control he displayed outstanding airmanship and skill in retaining control at this height and successfully flying the aircraft back to base. From February 1944 until he lost his life in an aircraft accident in July 1944, he had completed 175 hours of anti-submarine and reconnaissance patrols under trying tropical weather conditions and showed praiseworthy leadership and initiative at all times. (Promulgated Commonwealth Gazette No 54, dated 15 March 1945)

On 2 July 1944 Beaufort A9-377 took off from Higgins Field on a travel flight. The aircraft crashed just after take-off about 2 miles east of the north-west end of the runway, and all the crew members were killed. The aircraft dived into the ground at a sharp angle from about 300 feet having completed a normal turn downwind after take-off. The engine revs were heard to increase considerably just before the crash. There was a low ceiling with light rain falling at the time.

The crew members of A9-377 were:

Pilot Officer John William Bracken MID (423608) (Pilot)
Flying Officer Thomas Albert Charles Daymond (429762) (Wireless Air Gunner)
Flight Sergeant Andrew Frank (427618) (Navigator Bomb Aimer)
Pilot Officer Lionel Ernest James Parkes (413323) (Wireless Air Gunner)


Australian War Memorial Roll of Honour On-Line Records
Commonwealth War Graves Commission On-Line Records
Department of Veteran’s Affairs On-Line WWII Nominal Roll
National Archives of Australia On-Line Record A9845, 254
Register of War Memorials in New South Wales On-Line


Wilson, S. (Stewart) Beaufort, Beaufighter and Mosquito in Australian Service, Aerospace Publications Weston Creek ACT 2611, 1990

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