Artefact of the Month
AN AIR COMMODORE’S UNIFORM
Peter Malam Brothers was born in 1917, learnt to fly as a schoolboy and joined the RAF in 1936. His first posting was to No 32 Squadron to fly Gloster Gauntlet biplane fighters. By 1938 he was a flight commander and his squadron was equipped with the Hawker Hurricane. When war broke out in 1939, Brothers’ squadron was based at RAF Biggin Hill. Following the Blitzkrieg in May 1940, he shot down two Messerschmitts before the squadron was withdrawn from France the following month. During the Battle of Britain, he shot down eight more enemy aircraft with No 32 Squadron before being posted, in September 1940, to No 257 Squadron with whom, on 15 September he shot down two more enemy aircraft.
Early in1941 Brothers was rested but returned to operations in March 1942 where he successfully led No 457 Royal Australian Air Force Squadron flying Spitfires. In October 1942 he was posted to RAF Tangmere as Wing Commander Flying. He claimed another enemy aircraft destroyed in January 1943 and was rested again in June of that year. Following a period as commanding officer of an operational training unit he commanded first the Exeter Wing and then the Culmhead Wing during the Normandy invasion. During this period he scored his last combat victory bringing his confirmed total to 16 enemy aircraft destroyed and was awarded the DSO – the citation spoke of “his courage and brilliant leadership”.
Among his RAF commands after the war was a Lincoln squadron during the Malayan emergency. Peter Brothers CBE DSO DFC and Bar retired from the RAF in 1973 and died in December 2008.
Late last year the daughter of Peter Brothers contacted David Coxon, the Museum’s Curator, advising him of an earlier agreement between Nick Berryman (a former Chairman of the Museum’s Trust) and her father (both were good friends) that on Peter’s death his Air Commodore’s uniform should be donated to the Museum.
AIR COMMODORE PETER BROTHERS’ UNIFORM IS DISPLAYED ON A MANNEQUIN IN THE MUSEUM’S BATTLE OF BRITAIN HALL.