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Edward Gordon Brettell


Joined RAF, trained at 58 OTU, assigned to 92Sqn, transferred to 133Sqn.
Shot down 26 September 1942 near Morlaix, France in Spitfire IX BS313. Became a Prisoner of War (POW) and was executed for his part in the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III


Units served with

  • No. 133 'Eagle' Squadron

    No. 133 'Eagle' Squadron

    'On 1 August 1941, No. 133 reformed at Coltishall as the third 'Eagle' Squadron manned by American personnel. Equipped with Hurricanes it became operational at the end of September. The next month the Squadron moved to Northern Ireland, returning to...


  • BS313

    Supermarine Spitfire BS313 Mk IX, Built at Chattis Hill. ...


  • VIII Fighter Command

    19 August 1942
    31st Fighter Group despatches 123 Spitfires in support of the landings at Dieppe, France. 8 are lost. These are the first operations of VIII Fighter Command units under VIII Fighter Command control. ...

  • VIII Fighter Command 133 SQ. RAF

    26 September 1942
    14 aircraft and pilots took off from Great Sampford for Bolthead, Devonshire, landing there at 1230 hours. At 1350 hours and after a very sketchy briefing, 12 aircraft of the Squadron took off together with 401 with orders to make rendezvous with a...

Associated Place

  • Biggin Hill

    Military site : airfield
    An RAF Station with US lodger units. USAAF Spitfires and P-38s were attached to RAF No 11 Group stations in mid-1942 for training; also used for special operations by British and US forces.

  • Debden

    Military site : airfield
    RAF Debden, construction of which began in 1935, is perhaps most famous as a Battle of Britain fighter airfield, partly responsible for the defence of London in 1940. In 1942 it was also home to three RAF 'Eagle Squadrons’ of volunteer American pilots...

  • Eagle Squadrons Memorial

    Other location


Event Location Date
Born Chertsey, Surrey, UK 19 March 1915

Parents Vivian and Eileen Brettell

Enlisted 1940

Joined RAF.

Operational training Grangemouth, Falkirk, UK 1940

Operational training at 58 OTU.

Assigned Biggin Hill, London SE19 3HY, UK August 1941 – 1942

Assigned to 92 Sqn RAF.

Transferred 1942 – 26 September 1942

Transferred to 133 [Eagle] Sqn RAF.

Prisoner of War (POW) Zagan, Poland 26 September 1942 – 29 March 1944

Held at Stalag Luft 3, Sagan-Silesia (now Poland). Executed for his role in the "Great Escape".

Shot Down Brest, France 26 September 1942

Shot down in vicinity of Brest.

Died Danzig 29 March 1944

Murdered by Bruchardt of the Danzig Gestapo after he was captured as a result of the "Great Escape"

Buried Poznań, Poland 1945

Commonwealth War Graves Poznań, Plot: 9 Row: A Grave: 1-20


Date Contributor Update
20 December 2016 23:10:53 fugari Changes to nickname, highest rank, role and media associations


Date Contributor Update
16 November 2015 17:32:15 Al_Skiff Changes to suffix, biography and events

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 01:06:43 Woodsterdog Changes to events

Amended error in Death year

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 01:01:10 Woodsterdog Changes to highest rank

Amendment to rank to reflect his service in RAF.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:58:48 Woodsterdog Changes to service number and events

Death and Burial information, taken from CWGC site.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:38:04 Woodsterdog Changes to place associations

Served at Biggin Hill with 92 Sqn in 1941 taken from 92 Sqn ORB.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:36:37 Woodsterdog Changes to events

From 133 Sqn ORB.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:34:21 Woodsterdog Changes to mission associations

Added Dieppe from 133 Sqn ORB

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:33:11 Woodsterdog Changes to service number, highest rank, events and person associations

From Ancestry records

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:26:55 Woodsterdog Changes to service number, highest rank and person associations

Service No. from London Gazette, Connections from 133 Squadron ORB.

Date Contributor Update
13 May 2015 00:23:40 Woodsterdog Changes to awards

He was British so did not receive American medals as stated previously. His DFC was recorded in the SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 29 SEPTEMBER, 1942 page 4216.

Date Contributor Update
01 May 2015 11:33:38 rossingtonj Changes to place associations

Changed to military, associated with Stalag Luft III

Date Contributor Update
16 April 2015 03:04:23 Woodsterdog Changes to surname, middlename, suffix, nationality, events and unit associations

Amended to reflect that Gordon Brettell was an RAF officer who was seconded to 133 Eagle Squadron as a Flight Commander. His death is taken from his gravestone in the CWG cemetery in Poznan.

Date Contributor Update
16 November 2014 19:18:07 Lee8thbuff Changes to middlename, awards, events and place associations

Lee Cunningham 16-Nov-2014. added POW event.

Date Contributor Update
28 October 2014 17:23:50 Lee8thbuff Changes to mission associations

Lee Cunningham 28-Oct-2014. Connection to mission within web-site data.

Date Contributor Update
22 October 2014 20:24:56 Lee8thbuff Changes to biography

Lee Cunningham 22-Oct-2014 for more information on the 'Great Escape' see

Date Contributor Update
27 September 2014 18:08:10 AAM AAM ingest

Drawn from the records of the National Museum of the Mighty Eighth Air Force, Savannah, Georgia / Roll of Honor