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Brigden, Robert Oliver

Date of birth:
February 4th, 1923 (Tottenham, Great-Britain)
Date of death:
September 1st, 1944 (Heesbeen, the Netherlands)
Buried on:
Commonwealth War Grave Heesbeen
Nationality:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)

Biography

Servicenumber 1385528/149587

Robert Oliver (Bob) Brigden was born on Februari 4, 1923 in Tottenham. He grew up with two sisters, Irene and Winifred, and two brothers, John and Robin. On April 13, 1940 Bob married in Tottenham to Nellie Louise Tibble from Edmunston. They had two sons, Terrence Robert and Peter John William.

On February 26, 1941 Bob reported himself voluntarily at the Royal Air Force as a pilot, he completed a pilot training and got the rank: Temporary Flight Sergeant (T/F/SGT). At the beginning of 1944 he received his final rank: Flying Officer (F/O).
Bob was a Mosquito pilot during his career in the RAF. He carried out tactical bombing on enemy targets with his navigator: Warrant Officer Tom Harris. Both men were stationed for some time at the No. 23 Squadron at Malta, On the pictures you see a picture of Brigden and Harris in Malta. In early 1944 Bob was transferred to the No. 60 Operational Training Unit in High Ercall. Here he trained pilots for Intruder Operations (offensive operations against enemy aircraft on the ground). Later he was transferred to the No. 605 (Intruder) squadron. From April 1944 the No. 605 Squadron carried out attacks from Manston airbase on various German targets including the Luftwaffe airport Gilze-Rijen in the Netherlands. The purpose of this attack was the destruction of German aircraft in order to protect Allied bombers against attacks from German fighters from Gilze-Rijen. Bobís last flight was a similar flight. He departed with Harris from Manston Airbase at 2330. After a trip along the airports Eindhoven and Gilze-Rijen, there appeared to be very little activity. For this reason they changed their course and flew on towards the east. Their Mosquito was seen by Germans during the flight, after that they were chased by a searchlight. They were shot at by Flak anti-aircraft guns but because they considered it to be very far off the aircraft they were not worried about it. Until suddenly one of the engines caught fire, they appeared to have been hit after all. The fire could not be extinguished with the internal suppression system therefore there was chosen to bail out the aircraft. Harris kicked the door out and left the aircraft. What exactly happened with Brigden is not clear, either his parachute did not open or he couldnít leave the aircraft on time so that the height was too low to land safely. Brigden died and was buried in the graveyard at Heesbeen. Harris survived the crash, he was taken prisoner of war and was brought to a POW camp (Prisoner of War camp) in Poland. In May 1945 he returned to England.

Promotions:
20th July 1943: Pilot Officer on probation (emergency);
20th January 1944: Pilot Officer;
20th January 1944: Flying officer (war subs.).

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Sources

  • Photo 1: Tony Brigden
  • Photo 2: Paul Moerenhout
  • Photo: Paul Moerenhout/Tony Brigden
  • - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 10th September 1943, Issue 36170, dated 14th September 1943
    - Fourth Supplement to The London Gazette of 18th January 1944, Issue 36340, dated 21st January 1944
    - Letter Tom Harris dated October 14th, 1996
    - Service Record
    - Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Photos