b. 27/10/1913 London. d. 11/08/1940 English Channel.
DATE OF EM ACTION: 08/01/1938 Upavon, Wiltshire.
Branch was born on 27 October 1913 in London, the son of Charles Churchill Branch and Mary Madelaine Bernadette Branch (née Rawstron). He was educated at Eton College and Balliol College, Oxford. On 7 May 1937 he was commissioned as a pilot officer in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. Following the award of the EGM, he married Lady Prudence Mary Pelham, daughter of the 6th Earl of Chichester on 25th March 1939 in Lewes, Sussex. During the Battle of Britain Branch, by then a flying officer, was a Hawker Hurricane pilot with No. 145 Squadron RAF. On 8 August 1940 he was credited with destroying two Junkers Ju 87s. A few days later on 11 August 1940 while flying Hurricane serial number P9251 on a mission to intercept German bombers, a large air battle took place off Cherbourg in which Branch was shot down and killed.
Branch was buried in the churchyard at Quiberville, France. His name recorded on the Battle of Britain Monument in London, and at the Battle of Britain Memorial, Capel-le-Ferne.
On 9th January, 1938 an aircraft in which Pilot Officer Branch was a passenger crashed at Upavon, Wiltshire, and immediately burst into flames. Having extricated himself from the burning aircraft this officer found that the pilot was trapped in the cockpit by his legs. Despite the danger of the petrol tank exploding, Pilot Officer Branch returned to the blazing wreckage and, whilst actually standing on burning debris, succeeded in extracting the pilot. There is little doubt that this prompt and gallant act saved the pilot’s life. The aircraft was completely destroyed by fire.
BURIAL LOCATION: QUILBERVILLE CHURCHYARD, QUILBERVILLE, FRANCE.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.