View Full Version : Francis Thomas BROOKS, DFC, DFM - Nos.11 and 180 Sqns - citations, bio note

26th April 2022, 05:27
BROOKS, Francis James Thomas, Sergeant (563947) - No. 11 Squadron – Distinguished Flying Medal – awarded as per London Gazette dated 22 August 1941. Information from Spink catalogue of 20 July 2006. The recommendation states:

This senior N.C.O. has taken part in 62 RPT. 62 raids over Libya and Greece and on all occasions has shown the greatest determination and courage when on duty’.

BROOKS, Francis James Thomas, F/O, DFM (50467, Royal Air Force) - No.180 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross - awarded as per London Gazette dated 24 July 1945. Details from Dixon’s Gazette. Born 1914. Enlisted as an Apprentice, Halton, September 1929. At the outbreak of war he was serving with No.60 Squadron (Blenheims, various detachments in India). Served with “B” Flight, No.211 Squadron (Blenheims), Helwan (Egypt) and Greece, 16 June 1940 to 1 June 1941. Operational sorties (log book entries) included high level bombing on El Adem; Tobruk (seven sorties including 9 September 1940, “Raid on Tobruk. Ships and tanker hit, 12 x 20-lb and 12 x 40-lb” ), Valona Harbour and area (Greece, ten sorties including 13 March 1941 (“Bombing raid with Fleet Air Arm, Valona, 2 x 500 lbs GP, two good hits.”). He also wrote of this, “The Navy Swordfish were given a target of torpedoing ships at anchor in Valona. This operation had to be targeted at night. To keep the defences attention occupied, a Blenheim would fly over Valona, seconds before the main attack. Being the only Sergeant with many hours of night flying I was detailed for the flight. Approaching the target area the sky became alight with searchlights and tracers. I released my bombs, on time, just as the low flying Swordfish came over the breakwater. With my plane getting all the attention, the Swordfish completed a perfect raid. Both pilot and I were awarded medals. I was presented at the Palace with the DFM by King George VI.” Awarded DFM, 22 August 1941 as Sergeant (563947, No.11 Squadron, “This senior NCO has taken part in 62 raids over Libya and Greece and on all occasions has shown the greatest determination and courage when on duty.”) Posted to No.11 Squadron (Blenheims), Aqir, Palestine, 1 June 1941. Operational sorties included that of 22 June 1941 (“Raid, Beirut Harbour. Destroyer attacked and two direct hits scored, 2 x 250-lbs.”) and 24 June 1941 (“Raid - Rayak railway siding, perfect. Many trucks destroyed.”) Posted to No.180 Squadron (Mitchells, Brussels and subsequent moves into Germany). Operations included Zaltbommel Road bridge, Wassenburg, Xanten Town, Nieuberk, Weeze, Menle Marshalling Yard, Schweinheim Rail Bridge, Geldern, V-weapon site at the Hague, Wesel Rail Bridge, Harltern Marshalling Yard, Borken Marshalling Yard, Leer Barracks and Bremen. Posted to No.170 Squadron (Lancasters), Hemswell, May and June 1945. Although his unit is given in Gazette as No.170 Squadron, the recommendation clearly covers events with No.180 Squadron.

Since being awarded the Distinguished Flying Medal on 22 August 1941, this leading Navigator and Bomb Aimer has highly distinguished himself during his operational career. He has led squadron formations with determination and accuracy on 51 operations against enemy targets in the Low Counties and Germany. He has consistently set a high standard of professional skill and has won the confidence and admiration of all whom he has led. On many occasions his aircraft has been flown to its target through heavy and accurate anti-aircraft fire. With complete disregard for personal safety, Flight Lieutenant Brooks has at all times pressed home his attacks with high courage and coolness. During one flight his aircraft was badly damaged, the aileron control impaired and one engine seriously affected. The Air Gunner was gravely wounded and in danger of his life. Calmly Flight Lieutenant Brooks guided his pilot towards an advanced air strip and thus contributed largely to saving the lives of the wounded Air Gunner and the rest of the crew. This officer’s tenacity, skill and courage have been of the highest order and the squadron record has been sustained and enhanced by the fine example he has set.