Air of Authority - A History of RAF Organisation

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Flying Officer Arthur John William Brewer (“Jack”)

Jack enlisted in the RAF for 7 years on 4 September 1928, aged 18.  After training at the School of Technical Training, Halton, he was mustered as a storekeeper and posted to the Middle East Depot at Aboukir on 28 March 1930 and then to Khartoum on 19 August 1931 with 47 Squadron.  Jack’s postings alternated between Egypt and the Sudan until 20 November 1934, when he returned to the home establishment. 

He was posted to XV Squadron at Abingdon (which was at this time flying Hawker Harts) and then from 2 April 1935 he was with 41 Squadron (Hawker Demons).  Jack was posted to the Reserve on 17 July 1935, returning to civilian work as a storekeeper at the de Havilland Aircraft Company at Stag Lane, Hendon.

 Jack was recalled from the Reserve on 25 August 1939 (with the rank of LAC and mustered as equipment assistant).  He was posted to 87 Squadron at Debden (Hawker Hurricanes I), which moved to Lille-Seclin in France as part of the Air Component of the BEF on 15 September 1939.  When the German invasion came on 10 May 1940, the squadron gave air cover on the Northern Front until its airfields were captured.  After two weeks of heavy and non-stop fighting it was evacuated to re-equip in Yorkshire. Jack’s service record shows that he left France on 20 May 1940.  After the war he recounted how he had witnessed a squadron of Fairey Battles being destroyed on the ground, before they had seen any action (87’s primary role was to provide support for the Battles and Blenheims based around Rheims).

On 9 July 1940 he was posted to 910 Squadron (an RAF Balloon unit) !!!

On 13 November 1940 Jack was posted to Egypt, arriving at Fayid on 30 November 1940, moving to Shallufa on 19 December and was with 38 Squadron (Vickers Wellingtons 1A & 1C) until 13 August 1941, when he was posted to 272 Squadron (Bristol Beaufighters) at Edku, near Alexandria.  On 22 October he was moved to 108 Maintenance Unit, whose HQ was at Heliopolis.  Jack served in 108, 111 and 114 MU and at 201 Group HQ at Alexandria until 22 August 1943, when he was posted to HQ DAF and then immediately on to 600 Squadron in Malta and shortly thereafter to Italy.  He was commissioned on 2 April  1943.

On 29 November 1943 Jack returned to the UK, serving out the rest of his time in the RAF at various home-based MUs, until his discharge on 2 February 1946, with the rank of Flying Officer, having served his King and Country for a total of 13 years and 3 months.

The above was provided by his son A P Brewer, who also provided the photographs shown in the 47 Squadron history.


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