Brettell, Edward G


rank: Flt Lt
status: kia
airforce: RAF    (no: 61053 )
born: 1915-03-19 Pyrford Chertsey United Kingdom

added by: Woodsterdog

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Bio / Text:

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Edward Gordon Brettell (19 March 1915 – 29 March 1944), known as Gordon Brettell, was a British Spitfire fighter pilot who was taken prisoner during the Second World War. He took part in the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III in March 1944, but was one of the men re-captured and subsequently shot by the Gestapo.

29-Mar 1943


Flt Lt

He was captured on 26 Sep 1942 whilst flying in Spitfire IX, BS313 of No 133 Sqn, which was lost due to very bad weather on a Circus to Morlaix. He was executed by the Gestapo following The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III at Sagan on 24 Mar 1944. He is buried in Poznan Old Garrison Cemetery

Links to the right detail the last sortie where due to bad weather, getting lost, and enemy engagement, none of his squadron returned. Most taken prisoner, 1 evaded, others KIA. Bretell was squadron leader, flying with an eagle squadron.


Squadrons add
RAF 124 1942-01-16
RAF 133 1942-08-01
RAF 92 1941-04-02


BR319 1942-07-28
W3321 1942-07-25
BM377 1942-07-21

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Comments / Questions:

by: kurtis blonde on his lap in aircraft leads to court martial, who was she? 2015-11-12 02:13:58

There is something in his records about a court martial 1942 (illegal flight with woman on his lap) -- are there any details here.

reply: kurtis some detail of the court martial and defense 2015-11-12 02:20:31

from the hatfield-herts link, there are some details. ...

Gordon Brettell's main claim to fame with 92 Squadron earned him a mention in the autobiography of legendary Spitfire test pilot, Jeffrey Quill – and a court martial. He had flown his girlfriend, a WAAF based at Tangmere, in his single seat Spitfire to RAF Biggin Hill for a squadron party. Unfortunately for him, the station commander who was there when they landed took a dim view of his actions and reported him. Among the charges at his later court martial was endangering the King's aircraft (King George VI was then on the throne). He called upon his friend, a Battle of Britain ace with a Hatfield-link, Anthony Charles Bartley (41816) for help.

Tony Bartlett was acting as a test pilot for Supermarine at the time. He later revealed in his autobiography that he asked Jeffrey Quill (Supermarine's chief test pilot) and Joseph Smith (Supermarine's chief designer after Reginald Mitchell's death) for their help. Joe Smith even went so far as to draw up some mathematical equations alleged to prove the aircraft wasn't in any danger, which Bartley presented at the court martial. Although the clinching argument was when asked by the prosecution how he could prove it, Bartley admitted to having committed an identical offence previously. Now faced with the prospect of having to prosecute two badly needed officers with a war on, the charge was dismissed. Although Gordon Brettell was transferred away from the squadron.