Twenty year old AC2 Ken Day and twenty-two year old AC2 George Brocking, both Royal Air Force ground crew acting as volunteer air gunners for the day, died together when their Wellington L4275 was blown out of the sky during a bombing raid by six RAF No. 9 Squadron aircraft from Honington Air Base, Suffolk, on German battleships at the mouth of the Keil Canal. Both died on September 4th 1939 – the second day of the war.
The body of young Ken Day was picked up ten days later by a cargo steamer between Elbe Lightships I and II and buried two days later with full military honours at Cuxhaven Cemetery. The body of his comrade George Brocking was never found and his name is inscribed on the Royal Air Force Memorial at Runnymede, just one of the 20,547 RAF airmen from World War Two with no known grave.
Two Wellingtons were lost in the operation – one by anti-aircraft fire, the other shot down by a German fighter pilot believed to be Pilot Sergeant Alfred Held in a BF109 operating from 11/JG77, Nordols, in what was claimed as the first Luftwaffe victory in the War against the RAF.
George Brocking and Ken Day
Londoner George Brocking, and Ken Day from Essex, were non-active members of Mosley’s British Union because of RAF service regulations but associated freely with Suffolk members. One old Suffolk Blackshirt remembers them as ‘courageous and reliable members’ and Brocking’s former District Leader and friend described him as ‘a grand and splendid lad, fond of fun and with an ever ready smile – yet his frequent discussions on the problems of the time, and the British Union’s remedy for them, revealed an intelligence far beyond the average.’
Ken Day, a happy-go-lucky character, had volunteered for, and been accepted by, the RAF’s Advanced Striking Force for operations in France on Germany.
They would have died as they lived: with a smile on their lips, conscious of the odds against them, but fighting to the end – an outlook on life that as Mosley men they would have felt and understood.
These two young men were the first of many members of British Union whose bones lie scattered over four continents, including those who had suffered previous unjust internment under Regulation 18B. Those of us who came back searched in vain for those laughing young faces who had marched three-abreast with us in Mosley’s great demonstrations before the War.
To build, not to destroy
First, they had fought to prevent the War believing it not to be in the real interests of the British people. Their whole being was to build the Britain of their dreams: free from poverty, free from slums and free from the curse of war. Had they lived they would have seen in ‘victory’ a Britain relegated to a small island in the Northern seas and a Europe weakened and divided by Soviet Russia and the United States.
Fortunately, they did not live to see the land they loved descend to the state of a Banana Republic. They did not choose to live and shame they land from which they sprung. And while many brave young men died believing they were fighting in a just cause, it does not slight their memory for us to say of our British Union comrades who fought and died knowing it was an unnecessary war that ‘Theirs was a greater glory’.
The early deaths of Brocking and Day will remain an example of the honour and purpose of those who followed Mosley – a symbol for future generations to arise and reveal to posterity the further truths of the Mosley story.
To those present-day politicians who continue with the lies of their predecessors; to that contemporary establishment baked in progressive liberal thought; to the tabloid hacks who would still decry our story of Brocking and Day and all our Blackshirt dead we say:
‘Lie, Smear, Defame them all you want – for you may touch them not.’
Note: For a detailed report on the air attack in which Ken Day and George Brocking died see page 2 of ‘Comrade’ number 3 which can be viewed at this website.