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Sunday, 6 October 2019

Bomber Braddock is Back!

The character of Matt Braddock first appeared in The Rover Comic back in 1952 - I wasn't even born then and I first came across the character in the 1970's when he appeared in The Victor. The character was popular enough that he even appeared in Warlord and several of his stories have been published in graphic novel format under the title, I flew with Braddock.

Braddock was known for his fearless nature, superb piloting skills and no-nonsense attitude. He had no time for petty rules and regulations, and remained at the rank of sergeant, refusing to be promoted to an officer rank. However this didn't stop him from standing up to incompetent superiors, or defending other enlisted men from overzealous courts-martial. He spent almost as much time clashing with superior officers as the Germans, and on two occasions in I Flew With Braddock he came fairly close to being court-martialled for assaulting a superior officer (although one incident was a misunderstanding and the other was under severe provocation). The narrator of these stories was his hero-worshipping navigator, George Bourne (a Dr. Watson-type narrator, a relatively sophisticated device for juvenile fiction).
Braddock was so highly regarded that he had carte blanche to pick his own flight crew, and was frequently called upon to advise high-ranking commanders of the RAF. Braddock flew several types of aircraft, but his most prominent command was the Lancaster Bomber "F Fox". At the start of I Flew With Braddock the crew was Braddock and Bourne, co-pilot and flight engineer 'Ham' Hancox, bomb aimer Tom Tanner, radio operator 'Nicker' Brown, mid-upper gunner 'Hoppy' Robinson, and tail gunner Les Howe. Les Howe clashed with Braddock early on and was replaced by 'Baa' Lamb, and later 'Hoppy' Robinson was badly injured in a raid and replaced by Arthur Atkins.
Vintage Braddock from The Victor

The  character makes a welcome return in the pages of Commando Books - this week, in Commando issue 5267 Braddock stars in a story entitled, Demons. This follows on from issue 5259 which featured a story simply entitled Braddock.

Issue 5267 Braddock: Demons is on sale now in both physical and electronic format

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