Brooker Peter, Wing Commander (DFC*, DSO)
Peter Brooker received a direct commission to the RAF in April 1937 and began his flying career with 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 1 Squadron. He had more success with 1 squadron being credited with He111. Later in 1941 he was posted to the Far East and the command of 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 77 Squadron.
A short loan to the RNZAF commenced shortly after, commanding 14 Squadron flying Kittyhawks. He arrived back in the UK in Feb 1943 with 7 ½ aircraft shot down. In May 1944 he took over from W/C Wray as Wing Commander Flying of 123 wing which comprised 183, 198, 609 and 197 squadrons.
Brooker took over 122 Wing (3, 56, 486, 80 & 274 Squadrons) and it was on this day that he led a section of 80 squadron Tempests to patrol the Hanover-Osnabruck sector to attack trains. After attacking a train near Neuruppen Brooker was advised that there was smoke coming from his radiator and flames seen in his cockpit, the aircraft turned over and crashed (his number 2, Sgt Turner was also lost).
Brooker was awarded the D.F.C. on the 30th of May 1941, the Bar to the D.F.C. on the 27th of March 1942, and the D.S.O. on the 1st of December 1944. He was awarded the Bar to the D.S.O. on the 12th of February 1946 with effect from the date before his death.
The Battle of Britain