J. R. D. ‘Bob’ Braham was Britain’s most-decorated fighter pilot and one of the most successful fighter pilots of World War II. Joining the RAF in 1938 at the age of 18, he was posted to No. 29 Squadron at Debdon, where he learned to fly the Hawker Hurricane and Bristol Blenheim. By 1939, the squadron had become a specialised night fighting unit and Braham gained his first victory in August 1940. From that point on, he was constantly in action. Famed for his individual night-time intruder sorties, he also took part in the Peenemiinde raid, the Battle of Britain, and the fight against the V1s and V2s during the Blitz. In 1943, battle fatigued, he moved into an operational role but continued to fly operations until June 1944 when he was shot down and captured. Having completed 316 missions, he spent the next eleven months as a Prisoner of War, and was finally liberated in May 1945. With 29 confirmed combat victories, Braham achieved more success in night fighting than almost any other RAF pilot and was awarded the triple Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC), the triple Distinguished Service Order (DSO) and the Air Force Cross (AFC). Told in his own words, with all the spirit and dynamism for which he was known as a pilot, this is Braham’s extraordinary story.
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