View Full Version : NO 1 PRU - B Flight Benson, Wick, Burma, India - William James Bracken DFC -CAN J6279

1st January 2013, 18:57
I'm helping my father to get some more information about his brother's time during the war. We have his pilot's log book, and would like to see if there would be more information in the ORB. I was at the National Archives site, but wasn't sure if I was ordering the right logs. He was posted to Benson on Feb. 17, 1942, and then to Wick on April 1, 1942 to July 7, 1942 (his notes show that he photographed the Tirpitz on May 16, 1942). Would the ORB's give more information as to was was photographed each time he went out? He was then back at Benson until August 8, 1942.
He then went to Burma to No 2 PRU August 13, 1942, and onto Dum Dum India Dec 20, 1942, which is referred to as No 3 PRU, and also Sqn 681, until Nov 8, 1943. That was then end of his PRU work, and the end of his second tour. He was then sent to OC "A" Detachment Bengal Comm unit. December 15, 1943 he was then stationed at Imphal until May 29, 1944. During that period he mainly flew Harvards and Ansons. He had flown Gen Wingate in a harvard from March 21 1944 to March 22 1944. It was told that the weather was bad and they would not continue to fly him, so he found another airforce to take him, in which the plane crashed (- On 24 March 1944, Wingate flew to assess the situations in three Chindit-held bases in Burma. On his return, flying from Imphal to Lalaghat, the USAAF B-25H-1-NA Mitchell bomber, 43-4242,[45][46] of the 1st Air Commando Group[47] in which he was flying crashed into jungle-covered hills in the present-day state of Manipur in northeast India,[48] where he died)

The other question that we had was, are all the photos now stored in one spot for the areas that I have in question, and can they be searched in relation to who took them. We would like to get some photos on each of this flights for the PRU.

Any help or hints you can give me would be greatly appreciated.


Andy Fletcher
2nd January 2013, 09:28
Hi Geroge,

Regarding aerial photos they are all now stored at the TARA (http://aerial.rcahms.gov.uk/), over 6 million images. For high resolution images (600 dpi) I believe they charge £40 or £50 per image, so they are very expensive.

Best Regards

Andy Fletcher

Pierre Renier
2nd January 2013, 17:27
Hello George

As your uncle was in 1PRU you will need to get the ORB which is held in AIR 29/415 covering the period 1942. This will give more specific details of the operations than might be found in his log book, and crucially should give in many instances the sortie references, for instance sortie A/392. This will help immensely with TARA link mentioned by Andy. My experience of PRU operational records only relates to Europe.

Another source worth checking out are the appendices to the ORBs. Go to the Kew National Archives link http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/SearchUI/ and enter this reference AIR 27/2015. For the princely sum of £3.36 start reading from page 336 of the PDF, I’d be highly surprised if that doesn’t keep you entertained for a while!

If you have any other questions post them here as the Forum has a wealth of folks knowledge and may be able to guide you in respect of the operations in Asia.

Kind regards