The Airmen's Stories - P/O G C Brunner
Geoffrey Clifford Brunner was born on 7th April 1911 and attended Bridgnorth Grammar School. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1926 and passed out in August 1929 as a Fitter, Aero Engines.
He later remustered as an Airman u/t Pilot and began his flying at 2 FTS Digby in July 1932. Brunner joined 17 Squadron at Upavon in August 1933 as a Sergeant-Pilot.
In November 1936 Brunner went to 66 Squadron at Duxford. He took part in the Hendon Air Displays in 1935, 1936 and 1937. This involved converging dive-bombing attacks on a set piece and formation aerobatics with smoke.
Perhaps as a requirement for his next posting he qualified for Aero Certificate 15154 on 24th July 1937 at Marshalls Flying Club in Cambridge.
In October 1937 Brunner was appointed as a test pilot in the Performance Testing Section at the Aircraft and Armament Experimental Establishment, then at Martlesham Heath but from September 1939 at Boscombe Down.
From 13th to 25th May 1940 he was on No. 18 Course at the Blind Approach Training and Development Unit at Boscombe Down, detached from the A&AEE.
Commissioned in June 1940, Brunner arrived at 6 OTU Sutton Bridge on 2nd June for a refresher course. Seven days later he joined 43 Squadron at Tangmere. On 7th July he damaged a Do17 in a low-level chase across the Channel, which ceased only when his ammunition was exhausted.
Brunner was taken off operational flying on 10th July pending a posting back to the A&AEE. It did not materialise and he returned to operations on 24th August.
Two days later 43 was deployed against a large raid on Portsmouth. After probably destroying a He111, Brunner was hit and badly damaged by a Me109. Wounded in the ankle, he made a wheels-up landing at Tangmere and was admitted to the Royal West Sussex Hospital at Chichester. He was posted to RAF Tangmere as non-effective sick on 26th August. He was discharged from hospital on 10th September.
Brunner returned to duty with 43 Squadron on 19th October.
He was posted back to the A&AEE at Boscombe Down on 30th October 1940.
He was awarded the AFC (gazetted 1st January 1942) and Bar (gazetted 21st July 1943), the latter for successfully landing the prototype Westland Welkin after engine and structural failure whilst on a test flight.
On 8th January 1945 Brunner went to the RAF Staff College. He stayed in the RAF postwar and transferred to the Aircraft Control Branch in September 1945.
In 1965 he took part in Sir Winston Churchill's funeral procession. He retired on 1st July 1966 as a Group Captain.
Brunner died in 1989.