Rank & Name: P/O Paul Seth Ewart Briggs
Date of Death: N/A

P/O Briggs was observer when his aircraft and crew crashed into the sea after being shot down by a German fighter. All three became POW's. view details

Paul Seth Ewart Briggs - He was born on 25th January 1913 in Bridlington in Yorkshire and he died on 1st August 1993 in Street in Somerset. Before joining the RAF he worked as a Hotel Manager.
Paul joined the RAFVR on 4th May 1939 and was called up on 4th September 1939. He was commissioned as a Pilot Officer on 25th June 1940 and I've attached a formal portrait photograph - with his cap at a slightly rakish angle! In July 1940 after initial training as a Navigator/Bomb Aimer, he was posted to the School of Army Co-operation at Andover in Hampshire and shortly after that he teamed up with Derrick (Deg) Euan Kennedy. (Derrick was born on 18th May 1914 and joined the RAFVR in January 1938. He had previously worked in a bank. He died several years ago but I'm not sure exactly when, possibly in the 1960s/1970s).

In August 1940 they were posted to C Flight, 59 Squadron, then based at Thorney Island. Paul completed 66 missions before they were shot down, almost certainly by top Luftwaffe ace Pips Priller, while taking part in Circus 13 on 16th June 1941 which was a raid on the gas works at Boulogne. For a full account of this raid, have a look at "Two Friends, two different Hells" by Bernard Clayton and Ian Robinson. (An extract from this book is included in another book, "Bristol Blenheim" by Theo Boiten and is referred to by Ian Edgar on your web site). Charles Edgar joined Paul and Derrick's crew in March 1941. I've attached another photo which must have been taken between then and July 1941 when they were shot down. Charles is on the left, Derrick Kennedy in the middle and Paul Briggs on the right.

Paul spent the rest of the war in a series of German POW camps including Stalag Luft III, made famous by the Great Escape. All the POWs were evacuated on foot from the camp in the depths of the winter of 1944/45, one of the coldest on record in the face of the advancing Russian army. Paul thought that he was going to die. I've attached a photograph taken at Schubin (Szubin) POW camp. Paul is knelling on the left in the front row. At the right hand end of the row is Dick Morton who was also in 59 Squadron and listed on your Roll of Honour.

Paul was awarded a Mention in Despatches although he didn't know what for. I met with Charles Edgar for first time a few years ago. He explained that when they were shot down, both he and Derrick were injured. At some risk to himself, Paul went back into the aircraft and got them both out. Charles said that my father saved his life. Apparently he wrote to the Squadron CO from POW camp explaining this and he thought that this was what led to the Award. (After being shot down, they spent some time in their dinghy before being spotted by an Me 109 and they were then picked up by a German E Boat).

On his return to England, Paul re-joined the RAF but he was obviously very unwell and in June 1946 he relinquished his commission because of medical unfitness. He was suffering from the trauma of being shot down and then incarcerated for 4 years and he received a medical pension until the day he died. (Images and information sent in by Simon Briggs, Paul's son - Thank you for your contribution)

(L-R) Charles Edgar, Derrick Kennedy, Paul Briggs - taken between March and June 1941 (Simon Briggs)
Schubin (Szubin) PoW camp. Paul crouching down on the left. Dick Morton kneeling on the left. (Simon Briggs)


Further Information
Awardee of the Battle of Britain Clasp - Although entitlement was revoked by the Air Ministry in 1960 (read more)

"I noticed the section on your web site about the decision to award (and then withdraw) the Battle of Britain clasp to 59 Squadron aircrew who served in the appropriate period. My father didn't have it amongst his medals so he obviously sent it back. However, and I'm sure that he wouldn't mind me mentioning it, Charles Edgar still had his Battle of Britain clasp! And quite rightly so, I think the decision to withdraw the award was an absolute disgrace." (Simon Briggs)


If you have any information about P/O Briggs, please contact me, thank you.

Rest In Peace