Guy’s Story recounts the life (1918–1942) of my eldest brother, Guy Warwick Brokensha.
Part 1 (‘Before the War’) comes from my own recollections and those of my family, as well as from family records. Part 2 (‘War’) is taken from letters and from a number of published sources. Part 3 (‘Guy’s Family’) is again from our recollections and records.
In August 1942, Guy was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm, stationed on HMS Formidable in the Indian Ocean. On the morning of 12 August he failed to appear for his dawn flight. His mysterious disappearance and tragic loss have prompted me to write his story.
I value highly the help I have had from Guy’s widow, Margaret Viscountess Thurso; Guy’s daughter, Deirdre, and her husband, Peter Blackwood. Hallvor Brunstad, a Norwegian historian, provided invaluable and much appreciated information and background about the 1940 air battles over Norway.
I am grateful to my computer adviser/friend Donald Gill, and to his colleague Edward Matdat, who were responsible for the initial imaginative and effective design, and to Jo-Anne Friedlander who completed the project in a most professional manner. I would not have been able to tackle this job at all without the highly professional – and cheerful – help of my long-time editor: thank you, Biddy Greene.
The accounts in Part 2 are based mainly on two books: Christopher Shores’ Fledgling Eagles (1991), and Brian Cull’s Flying Sailors at War (2011). Both books quote extensively from letters written by Guy and his fellow pilots, including Guy’s close friend, Lieutenant ‘Skeet’ Harris.
Other books consulted and quoted from were RT Partridge’s book, Operation Skua – drawn to my attention by his son, Simon – John Moffat’s I Sank the Bismarck, and John Casson’s memoir, Sailor and Airman. I am grateful to Dick Phillips, whose diary provided me with one of the most detailed accounts of Guy’s disappearance.
Further information came from www.historynet.com/. A number of unattributed illustrations of World War II aircraft and ships have been taken from the Internet. I am grateful to the many people who have posted such images.
Despite all our efforts there are still some uncertain details in the various accounts of naval actions over Norway in April to June 1940 which my friends, my family, my editor and I have been unable to resolve. There are also a few gaps in the narrative. But the broad outlines are nevertheless correct.