Sir Christopher Quintin Brand, copyright RAF Museum Hendon

Air Vice Marshal Sir Christopher Quintin Brand was a South African who headed 10 Group during the Battle of Britain. After serving with the South African Air Force, Brand joined the RFC with whom he saw active service during the First World War. In May 1918 he was credited with bringing down a German Gotha bomber near Faversham. He was subsequently awarded the DSO. After the First World War, Brand continued his flying career with the RAF. In 1920 he and a fellow South African aviator, Pierrie van Ryneveld, made a pioneering flight from Brooklands to Cape Town. Leaving England in February 1920, the pair arrived in Cape Town on 20 March having spent 109 hours flying. Brand and van Ryneveld were knighted in recognition of their achievement.

Brand formed a close and effective relationship with Keith Park, commander of 11 Group. When Park’s resources were stretched to the limit, Brand was always available to help out by seconding squadrons to assist 11 Group.

Moreover, Brand was another adherent to the tactics adopted by Park of putting up squadrons, if necessary, singly to react immediately to the enemy’s attacks. He paid for this, of course, when the “Big Wing” enthusiasts got their way and took over Fighter Command. Brand was, in the late Autumn of 1940, relieved of his command and sent off to Training Command to cool his heels.

During the Battle itself, Brand turned out to be a very effective commander. His group in the west of England fought against the attacks from Luftflotte 3, coming across the Channel from the Cotentin Peninsula.

Brand retired from the RAF in 1943.