Denis Naville Napier De Brath (1918 - 1941)

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Nicknames: "Peter"
Birthdate:
Birthplace: Hartley W., Hampshire, United Kingdom
Death: Died in Sankt Wendel, Saar, Germany
Cause of death: Killed in action (plane crash) over Germany (St. Wendel)
Managed by: Angela Tugwell
Last Updated:

About Denis Naville Napier De Brath

Date of Registration of Birth: Apr-May-Jun 1918 Registration district: Hartley W Inferred County: Hampshire, UK

1928 travelled by ship with his parents and sister on the "M.S. Garth Castle" from the U.K. to Durban, Port Natal, South Africa

1932 April - Dennis De Brath, Student, aged 14, travelled with his aunt Miss Eve Hemy on the ss Usambara from Lourenco Marques, Mozambique (he embarked from Mombasa [Beira]) and arrived in Southampton, England, on 17 Apr 1932 Shipping Line: Deutsche Ost - Afrika - LinieSummer . Their proposed address was 2 Harbor View, St. Helens, Isle of Wight.

1934 Parents were in Rhodesia. Peter (Denis) De Brath, cousins Joan and Pat McSwiney and entire Tuite-Dalton family were on holiday in Borth-y-Gest, nr. Portmadoc, south Wales. (Source: Pat McSwiney "A Family History") - does not mention if Suzanne was there too.

1936 Mr. D.N. De Brath, aged 17, was a passenger on the "RMS Llanstephan Castle" from London to Naples or Genoa, Suez, Aden, Mombasa, Tanga, Dar-es-Salaam, Beira, Lourenco Marques, Durban and East London, Cape Town - his destination was the seaport of Beira. This was presumably the closest port in order for him to travel to be with his family in Rhodesia. [During World War II the RMS Llanstephan Castle operated as a military troop transport ship for the Ministry of War. However, in August 1940 she transported 300 evacuees from Liverpool to Cape Town, almost all being children.]

Death:

(Commonwealth War Graves Commission) DE BRATH, DENNIS NAPIER NEVILLE

Rank: Sergeant Trade: Pilot Service No: 778294 Date of Death: 03/09/1941 Age: 23 (in fact he was 22) Regiment/Service: Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve 44 Sqdn. Grave Reference 8. F. 25. Cemetery RHEINBERG WAR CEMETERY (The site of Rheinberg War Cemetery was chosen in April 1946 by the Army Graves Service for the assembly of Commonwealth graves recovered from numerous German cemeteries in the area. The majority of those now buried in the cemetery were airmen, whose graves were brought in from Dusseldorf, Krefeld, Munchen-Gladbach, Essen, Aachen and Dortmund; 450 graves were from Cologne alone. The men of the other fighting services buried here mostly lost their lives during the battle of the Rhineland, or in the advance from the Rhine to the Elbe. ) Additional Information: Son of Harold and Gwenytth Aileen de Brath, of Ndola, Northern Rhodesia.

Deceased at St. Wendel Source: city archives of St. Wendel - a black book with the title "Ehrenbuch der Stadt St. Wendel für die Opfer der beiden Weltkriege".

"List of Honor of the victims of both World Wars in St. Wendel"

It was put together by order of the former mayor Graeff in the early Seventies by the local historian Hans-Klaus Schmitt. It contains 80 pages and most of the names and dates of those men and women who died at St. Wendel as a result of one of the two world wars of this century.

There are categorized in four divisions:

- killed in action

- killed by fighter bombers

- died on wounds resulted by the war

- missing in action

The part "World War 2", Chapter four - "foreigners which died from wounds suffered somewhere else in combat" - displayed:

Peter De Brath (British pilot, rank: Sergeant)

Renalt Cole (his observer, British Sergeant)

Both men were killed in action (plane crash) at St. Wendel on Sep 3, 1941

De Brath is buried at Rheinberg War Cemetery near Krefeld, Germany

--------------------

Source: http://www.flugzeugabstuerze-saarland.de/Alsfassen_en.pdf

Short after Midnight

by Roland Geiger

edited by Heather Tyreman

The Mission

Pilot of the plane was Sergeant Dennis Naville Napier DeBrath, serial number 778194, 23 years

old, RAF. His parents were Harold DeBrath and Gwenytth Aileen de Brath from Ndola, North

Rhodesia, Africa. He died during the night of September 2, 1941, when his plane crashed in a

meadow near Alsfassen.

His 19 years old Observer, Sergeant Ronald Leslie Cole, service number 1163918, suffered the

same fate. His parents were George Leslie and Gwendolin Charlotte Cole from Cheltenham in

Gloucestershire, England. He was finally burried side-by-side with his pilot in the Rheinberg

On the night of September 2, 1941, Bomber Command dispatched one hundred and thirty-

seven aircraft to bomb targets in Berlin and Frankfurt with additional aircraft to carry out

"gardening operations" in the sea off Copenhagen. The Hampden units were to play an

important role during this night, deploying a total of fifty-one aircraft from Nos. 44, 49, 50 and

83 Squadrons.

The weather was fair on the evening of September 2nd, with low stratus cloud at 600-800

feet, and a visibility of two to seven miles. A gentle breeze was blowing from WSW ‘round to

NW at 5-10 mph. This wind, however, slowly died out as darkness fell, and by midnight the air

was still, ideal for fog to form over the lower regions of the country. At 1930 hours, the first

aircraft of No. 49 Squadron left the runway at Scampton, followed by thirteen others over the

next fifty-five minutes. At dispersals on the other side of the airfield, No. 83 Squadron allowed

ten aircraft to join the climbing Hampdens of No. 49 Squadron as they maneuvred into a

formation in the late summer sky. At nearby Swinderby and Waddington, home of Nos. 50 and

44 Squadrons, the roar of Pegasus engines would have been heard all over the stations, as

another twenty-seven aircraft took turns to climb into the sky. At Swinderby the last Hampden

took off at 2025 hours, leaving the airfield suddenly quiet, except perhaps the mechanical

tinkering noises of the “'erks" working late.

Although the bombing and "gardening" were reasonably successful, Nos. 44 and 83 Squadron

suffered losses over the target areas. No.44 Squadron lost AE313/C over Frankfurt - In a

few hours, No.44 Squadron had lost almost a quarter of its bombing force with twelve airmen

missing.

The fourth aircraft failed to return and the following crew have been posted as missing.

Hampden AE313

Sgt

D.N. DeBrath

778294 (Rhodesian)

Bomber Command Intelligence Narrative of Operations No. 1931, records the results of these

two operations as follows: "Owing to a last minute deterioration in the weather a large portion

of the force detailed for Berlin was switched to Frankfurt.

AE313, Page 7, Pilot of the plane was Sergeant Dennis Naville Napier DeBrath, serial number 778194, 23 years

old, RAF. His parents were Harold DeBrath and Gwenytth Aileen de Brath from Ndola, North

Rhodesia, Africa. He died during the night of September 2, 1941, when his plane crashed in a

meadow near Alsfassen.

His 19 years old Observer, Sergeant Ronald Leslie Cole, service number 1163918, suffered the

same fate. His parents were George Leslie and Gwendolin Charlotte Cole from Cheltenham in

Gloucestershire, England. He was finally burried side-by-side with his pilot in the Rheinberg

War Cemetery.

Both gunners survived the crash because their positions were in the rear of the planes and they had a chance to bail out.

Page 8 shows the headstones of the graves of Cole and de Brath in Rheinberg War Cemetery, (Rheinberg Militär Friedhof) near Krefeld, Germany.

(Source: http://www.cavillconnections.co.uk/44%20losses%20D.htm)

de BRATH DNN , Rank: Sgt . Date: 2/3.09.41 Aircraft: Hampden I AE313 KM-C W Target / Mission: Frankfurt Fate: ? Fate of Crew: Killed Buried / Commemorated: Rheinberg War Cem

-------------- Postscript:

1942_Feb - A relative's letter (Rachel...) to Priscilla Sheringham De Brath - grandmother of Denis - wrote: "I hope Harold and Gwen have had some shred of comfort in hearing their boy was taken to hospital and buried in a military ..... I only hope he may have been unconscious. I feel intensely for their sorrow."

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(Peter) Denis N.N. De Brath's Timeline

1918
1918
Hartley W., Hampshire, United Kingdom
1941
September 2, 1941
Age 23
Sankt Wendel, Saar, Germany
????
Rheinberg War Cemetery, near Krefeld, Germany