Great-Grandfather's (RFC) sword.

09 November 2009

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excerpt from the London Gazette July 1918 describing the award of the MC:

T./Capt. William Harold Nelson Shakespeare,R.F.C.

Awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He carried out a most successful contact patrol in very bad weather at a height of 400 feet and brought back very valuable information. Later, he carried out another successful contact patrol at a low altitude, his machine being subjected to intense rifle and machine-gun fire. He is a gallant and determined pilot and has set a fine example Great Grandfathers RFC Swordto his squadron. Supplement to the London Gazette. 5. July 1918.

After the First World War he became one of the pioneers of military and civil transport aviation. While still serving in the RAF his services were employed by Handley Page to promote their new commercial passenger service in the Handley Page 0.400 series, which after the end of the First World War, had been converted from a bomber to a passenger aircraft. He was the captain of the first pan European flight from London to Athens, a flight which took place to promote Handley Page and prove the capability of the Aircraft. While in Athens he met and flew with the King of Greece who was also a keen aviator. He was also president of RAFA as well being captain and president of Worcestershire County Cricket Club. Enclosed is a link to his page on Wikipedia which contains links to his achievements.

As for Fg Off Brooke, his parents Don and Sandy still live at Branston. Don, who is Wg Cdr Shakespeare's grandson, attended the graduation along with his wife and Mrs Anne Roberts, Wg Cdr Shakespeare's daughter.

Fg Off Brooke attended Branston School and Community College before joining the RAF in March 1997 as an Assistant Air Traffic Controller and became an Air Traffic Control Officer when he was promoted to Sergeant in 2003. Now that he has graduated as an officer he will continue with his professional training with the Operations Support Branch - Flight Operations. On graduating he said "Parading on my graduation with my great-grandfather's sword has made the day a doubly proud occasion for both me and my family. Looking at his history in the RAF I realise I have a lot to live up to in my career!"

Reviewing Officer at the Parade was Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Personnel). Music on the day was provided by the Band of the RAF College Cranwell and there were flypasts by King Air aircraft from No 45 (Reserve) Squadron RAF Cranwell and by Typhoon aircraft from No 11 Squadron RAF Coningsby.

Editor: Ruth Vernon

Photographer: Matt Reid

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2009.

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