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Remembered Today:

JACK STANLEY BRASELL, 1 SQN, AUSTRALIAN FLYING CORPS


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    I have a local casualty for Wanstead, here in the east of London- Jack Stanley Brasell, killed in a dogfight near Beesheba, Ottoman Palestine, 1917. Fairly well covered incident and details of service- thanks to the ever-excellent Australian military services. But one small query, the answer to which might make the story.:

   The day after he was shot down, a German aircraft dropped a cylinder over a British airfield in which were details that Brasell had been killed and buried with honours. Possible that Board report contains German message

     A Board was held at Deir-el-Belah on 6th Sptember 1917. Similarly, any info. on whether the Board records survive would be welcome

   Just a long shot- would any Oz flying specialist know if the original German message has survived???

 

               Thanks 

                  Mike

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   Yes, the studio portrait of him on the various Australian sites is good.  Though as you mention it, he ought to be in photos of 1 Sqn  but nothing is known to me.  So add that as a "want"!!

     Thanks 

          Mike

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Mike

 

Here's an extract from an article I wrote for the Journal of the Australian Society of WWI Aero Historians about fatal casualties in the Australian squadrons of the RFC and the AFC:

 

Brasell, Lieutenant Jack Stanley, No 67 (Australian) Sqn RFC

 

Jack Brasell was born in Wanstead, Essex, England in 1889.  He worked as an Engineer before the War and was one month past his 26th birthday when he enlisted in the AFC at Melbourne on 22 July 1915.  He was promoted to Sergeant after only a week’s service and was transferred to ‘C’ Flight of No 1 Sqn at Laverton, Victoria, on 10 March 1916; he departed from Australia on HMAT A67 Orsova six days later.  After arrival in Egypt in April he was originally posted to No 14 Sqn RFC, and after a period of instruction with Nos 22 and 23 Reserve Sqns RFC at Aboukir, Egypt, he was he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in June 1916 and then Gazetted as a Flying Officer in November 1916.  A further promotion to Lieutenant came in February 1917, before he was posted to No 67 (Australian) Sqn on 15 May 1917.

 

He was killed in action on 25 June 1917 when flying No 67 Sqn’s first, and at that time only, BE 12a, the newly-delivered A6322, from Deir-el-Belah aerodrome as the escort to a reconnaissance mission.   The Australian aircraft were attacked by three enemy aircraft over Tel el Sheria, after which the BE was seen going down in a steady spiral behind the Turkish lines.  Ltn Franz Schleiff from Flieger Abteilung 300 was credited with bringing down Lt Brasell’s aeroplane south east of Kafie; the BE was the second of Ltn Schleiff’s eventual total of 12 confirmed victories before his flying career ended when he lost a hand in combat while flying as commander of Jasta 56 on the Western Front on 27 March 1918.

 

At first it was hoped that Lt Brasell was a Prisoner of War, but his death was confirmed by the enemy the next day, when a message was dropped from an aeroplane over No 67’s Sqn’s aerodrome.  The enemy account stated that Lt Brasell had been hit in the head during the airborne fight, and that he had died immediately after landing.  The Germans buried the pilot with full military honours.

 

Lt J S Brasell has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel 60 of the Jerusalem Memorial, Palestine.

 

I hope it's useful

 

Gareth

 

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   Gareth-  Thanks a lot- Its all useful. The reason I asked was because I suspected that there was some sort of air history group in Oz -and you have been flushed from cover. I have little more to add on Brasell- Yes, he was mistakenly posted to an RFC base when commissioned-the announcement was made in the London Gazette wrongly.So Brasell is one of only 2 AIF officers to have a British officer service file at Kew (Our Kew) because a file was created for him as "British" simply to sort out this technicality- What the file shows is that RFC didnt want him on the books as it would have to pay him- the Australians wanted him back because 100 Australians had already been allowed to go to RFC(by agreement) and Oz put its foot down about losing any more talent.

     If you look at the Oz Red Cross records-now helpfully online- then the testimony of different officers of his squadron suggests that the text of the German message about his fate was well known and a bit more than what there is now-the references to splendid opponent,etc may be trite but they were made. And I still think the squadron or AFC records may hold the original -or the text of it...... Somewhere!

     When I have Brasell finished,I'll send it over-99% the same but you might as well have the odd local bits from the British end.

 

            Best wishes

                      Mike

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Mike

 

The study of Australians in the RFC is a little murky, primarily because there was no Australian nationality at the time - the men in the AIF were simply British subjects.  There was a steady trickle of transfers from the AIF to the RFC from 1915 onwards, with two bulk transfers, one in October 1916 and the other in March 1917.  After the latter mass movement the AIF called a halt to the practice, as air-minded Australians were now required for the AFC.  In addition, many Australians joined the RFC direct, having made their own way to the UK, or by transferring from British regiments.

 

Our Society maintains a free access data base of nearly 6000 men with an Australian connection known to have served in an air service, ie the AFC, RFC, RNAS, RAF and the three we know of who flew for the Kaiser.  It's worth exploring.

 

Regards

 

Gareth

 

 

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