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Alfred De Bathe Brandon

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Portrait, "A New Zealander who dropped bombs on a Zeppelin. A cable message from London under the date of April 3, states that Flight-Lieutenant Brandon on Friday night rose to a height of 6000ft and then saw a Zeppelin 3000ft higher. Rising above the airship, he dropped several bombs, and it is believed three took affect." published in the Auckland Weekly News, April 13 1916, p. 50 - No known copyright restrictions

Portrait, "A New Zealander who dropped bombs on a Zeppelin. A cable message from London under the da …

Identity

  • Title
  • Forenames
    Alfred De Bathe AWMM
  • Surname
    Brandon AWMM
  • Ingoa
  • Also known as
  • Service number
  • Gender
    Male AWMM
  • Iwi
  • Hapū
  • Waka
  • Rohe
  • Religion

Civilian life

About birth

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  • Birth
    21 July 1883 AWMM WellingtonNew Zealand AWMM
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Birth notes
  • Address before enlistment
  • Post war occupation
  • Next of kin on embarkation
  • Relationship status

Service

Wars and conflicts

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Military decorations

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Training and Enlistment

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Embarkations

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Prisoner of war

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  • Capture details
  • Days interned
  • Liberation date
  • Liberation Repatriation
  • POW liberation details
  • POW serial number

Medical history

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  • Medical notes
    Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
    Injured in flying accident in March 1917 AWMM

Last known rank

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Biographical information

Biographical information

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    • Alfred Brandon was the son of Alfred de Bathe and Louisa (nee Kebbell) Brandon. Alfred Sr was a solicitor and served as Mayor of Wellington, 1893-94.

      Brandon's grandfather, also named Alfred de Bathe Brandon, was an early Wellington settler and crown prosecutor.

      Brandon studied law at Trinity College, Cambridge, UK, before returning to Wellington to work for his father's law firm.

      After the outbreak of war in 1914, he returned to England and joined the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) in December 1915.

      He was posted to the Special Reserve unit as a 2nd Lieutenant on 8 December 1915 and qualified as an RFC pilot on 26 February 1916.

      Brandon flew a BE2c single-engine biplane and spent most of his time in the war fighting the German zeppelins. As a Flight Lieutenant, he was somewhat controversially credited with destroying Zeppelin LZ-15 on 31 March 1916 (detractors say ground fire brought the zeppelin down, but he certainly helped to damage it, if nothing else).

      He also severely damaged Zeppelin LZ-33 before it was hit by ground fire and crashed on 23 September 1916. (Note that Haigh & Polaschek incorrectly give this date as 23 August).

      Promoted to Major in January 1918.

      Immediately after the war, he was sent back to New Zealand, where he assisted in evaluating New Zealand's air defences and prepared a report on landing grounds in 1919. He then quit the military and returned to practicing law.

      He married Ada Mabel Perry at the Cathedral Church of St Paul, Wellington, on 2 January 1942. He was twenty years her senior. They had one son.

      He retired in the 1950s to enjoy his horse-racing, golf and fishing pursuits.

      Tragically, his one son, Peter Brandon, was killed in a road accident in 1969.

      Brandon is noteworthy as being the first New Zealand airman to be awarded the DSO. AWMM
    • Sept 24th anvisual display about himd 25th 2016, we will be having a "Zepfest" at the site of the landing of Zeppelin L33 to mark the centenary of the crash. I have been doing some research in preparation and found Major Alfred de Bathe Brandon's role in chasing the Zeppelin. I am preparing a visual display. Would anyone like to make a contribution? Public - Christine - Researcher - 2 May 2016 - Book.Title Zeppelin Volume 2: Author ray L. Rimel. also www.airhistory.org.uk
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Death

About death

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  • Death
    19 June 1974 AWMM
    Age 90 AWMM
    Upper HuttWellington AWMM
  • Date of death
  • Age at death
  • Place of death
  • Cause of death
  • Death notes
  • Cemetery
  • Cemetery name
  • Grave reference
  • Obituary
    Obituary: Evening Post 20 June 1974 AWMM
  • Memorial name
  • Memorial reference

Memorials

Memorial

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  • Memorial name

Roll of Honour

Remember Alfred De Bathe Brandon by laying a poppy.

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Leave a tribute or memory of Alfred De Bathe Brandon

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  • The way his exploits were explained to me make his efforts in downing the zeppelin quite remarkable. I understand he was considered too old for military training, but wanted to fly planes and help in the war effort, so he learned to fly privately before heading into service. The planes were one-person planes, and were one of the few at the time (I gather) capable of flying to sufficient height to go above the zeppelin's. From there he had to drop a type of hand held bomb out of the side of the cockpit. the bombs had a type of hook on it so it could attach to the zeppelin and detonate. I also believe the plane that he flew was donated to the war effort by a private businessman from India (I think). I like how he was so determined to help in the war effort that he just found a way to do it.
    Public - Richard - Other relative - 19 August 2016
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Sources

Sources

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  • External links
  • Documents
    • Haigh, J., Polaschek, A. (Eds.). (1993). New Zealand and the Distinguished Service Order. Christchurch, N.Z.: Authors. AWMM
    • Auckland Weekly News AWMM
      Auckland Weekly News, 1916 AWMM
    • The Evening Post AWMM
      Obituary: Evening Post 20 June 1974 AWMM

Contributors

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DateFirst namesLocationRelationshipContact
15 August 2017JeniferWairarapaResearcher
19 August 2016RichardWellington, NZOther relative
02 May 2016ChristineColchester Essex EnglandResearcher
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