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Richard Edgar Peter Brooker was born on 2 November 1918 in Chessington, Surrey. He joined the RAF in April 1937 and began his flying career with No. 56 Squadron at North Weald. Whilst with 56 squadron Brooker flew on operations throughout the Battle of Britain. On 13 July 1940 he destroyed a Ju 87 and on 21 August he destroyed a Do 17 but was shot down by return fire from the rear gunner in a Do 17 over East Anglia, at 18:15hrs. He was slightly injured during his force-landing in his HurricaneI (P3153).

In late summer 1940 he was posted to Central Gunnery School and in April 1941 was promoted to F/L and posted to No. 1 Squadron. He had more success with No. 1 squadron being credited with He111. Later in 1941 he was posted to the Far East and the command of No. 232 Squadron, being promoted to Squadron Leader. He escaped with a number of pilots in a Lodestar to Australia where he was ‘loaned’ to the RAAF and the command of No. 77 Squadron.

A short loan to the RNZAF commenced shortly after, commanding No. 14 Squadron flying Kittyhawks. He arrived back in the UK in February 1943 and in May 1944 he took over from W/C Wray as Wing Commander Flying of 123 Wing.

On his return to the UK on 10 April 1943, and with seven and a half enemy aircraft shot down, he was posted to command No 1. Specialised Low Attack Instructors School (S.L.I.A.S.) at RAF Milfield in Northumberland, as Wing Commander Flying, posted across the airfield as temporary Officer Commanding 59 O.T.U. Milfield, then joining Fighter Leader School (F.L.S.) as a Staff Instructor, O.C. Armament Wing.

In May 1944 he was posted as Wing Leader 123 Wing, (83 Group, 198 and 609 Sqns, 2nd TAF) at Thorney Island Hampshire, and he led the wings Typhoons through the D-Day landings.  

Brooker took over 122 Wing in January 1945 and on 16 April he led No. 80 Squadron (flying B NV641) on an armed reconnaissance over Pritzwalk-Neuruppin area. Three Fw190s were encountered and the six Tempests gave chase. As they did so they were attacked by four or five more Fw190s. F/L Kilburn and F/L Prickett managed to shoot down one Fw190 each.

All but two Tempests returned to base. Brooker and Sgt Turner were missing. Nothing was known of their movements or fate other than a R/T call from Turner who reported his engine was cutting and he was returning to base. Turner's crash site was found after the war but Brooker's fate and resting place remain unknown.

Brooker was awarded the D.F.C. on the 30 May 1941, the Bar to the D.F.C. on the 27 March 1942, and the D.S.O. on the 1 December 1944. He was awarded the Bar to the D.S.O. on the 12 February 1946 with effect from the date before his death.


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Photo taken at RAF Milfield, Brooker seated in the middle.

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Brooker taking off from RAF Thorne Island in his Typhoon on D Day.


Brooker's victory in Tempest

Date of Claim Type Claimed Aircraft Serial No Location of Claim Unit
22 Feb 1945 Bf109   Rheine are 122 Wing


Brooker's previous victories

Date of Claim Type Claimed Aircraft lown Location of Claim Unit Note
13 July 1940 Ju87 Hurricane I   56 Sqn  
21 Aug 1940 Do17 Hurricane I   56 Sqn  
7 Oct 1940 Bf110 Hurricane I   56 Sqn Probable
7 Oct 1940 Do17 Hurricane I   56 Sqn Probable
11/12 May 1941 He111 Hurricane I   1 Sqn  
21 May 1941 Bf109 Hurricane I   1 Sqn Damaged
21 June 1941 Bf109 Hurricane I   1 Sqn  
26 Jan 1942 Ki27 Hurricane IIb   232 Sqn  
13 Feb 1942 Ki48 Hurricane IIb   232 Sqn  
4 March 1942 Fighter Hurricane IIb   242 Sqn  


Text sources:
Malcolm Sutherland
Tempest Squadrons of the RAF 2 by Chris Thomas
Aces High by Christopher Shores
Malcolm Sutherland