Brian Paddon

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Brian Paddon
Nickname(s) 'Never A Dull Moment'
Born (1908-08-24)24 August 1908
Carlshalton, Surrey, England, United Kingdom
Allegiance United Kingdom British Empire
Service/branch  Royal Air Force
Years of service 1929 - 1950
Rank Group Captain
Service number 28097
Unit No. 4 Squadron RAF
No. 20 Squadron RAF
No. 24 Squadron RAF
No. 209 Squadron RAF
No. 40 Squadron RAF
Commands held No. 40 Squadron RAF
RAF Thornaby
Battles/wars World War II:
Awards Distinguished Service Order

Group Captain Brian Paddon DSO (born 24 August 1908), was a Royal Air Force pilot who became a Prisoner of War and successfully escaped from Colditz Castle during the Second World War

Early life

Paddon was born in Carshalton, Surrey the son of the Reverend Charles Salmon Paddon and his wife Nellie Symington Paddon.[1][2] In the 1911 Census of Redruth in Cornwall, Paddon, aged two, is living with his parents at Lannarth Vicarage.[1]

Royal Air Force Service

Paddon joined the RAF on a short service commission as a Pilot Officer (on probation) in June 1929.[3] He obtained his Royal Aero Club Aviator's Licence #10796 on 3 September 1932.[2]

He was shot down flying a Bristol Blenheim light bomber of No. 40 Squadron RAF during an attack at St-Valery on 6 June 1940 as part of the Battle of France. He was captured and became a Prisoner of War.[4]

Prisoner of War

After passing through the interrogation and transit camp of Dulag luft he was first sent to Oflag IX-A/H at Spangenberg before shortly afterwards leaving for Stalag Luft I at Barth, arriving there on 12 July 1940,[5] where he became the Senior British Officer.[6]

After several escape attempts from various camps, he was sent to Oflag IV-C at Colditz Castle arriving there on 14 May 1941 with three other officers including Airey Neave.[7]

After several more attempts to escape, on 11 June 1942, he was sent to a Court-martial at Stalag XX-A for insulting a German officer during one of his previous escape attempts. However, he managed to escape from his cell, and with the aid of other British Prisoners of War, left the camp with a work party, slipped away and travelled to Danzig. He stowed away on a Swedish ship and successfully reached neutral Sweden on 18 June. He returned to the UK on 6 August 1942.[8]

He was awarded the Distinguished Service Order[9] and promoted to Group Captain. He was also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Paddon had married Sheila Mary Mansell in 1935 but she died in Malta on 23 September 1939.[10] They had two daughters, Erica and Shane.

He married again in 1948 to Anita Williams, they had three daughters - Patricia (born 12/11/1949 in Wendover, Aylesbury, UK), Wendy (born 19/3/1951) and Bridget (born 7/11/1953) both born in Rhodesia.[11][12]

Paddon retired from service on 10 November 1950.[13] He died in retirement in Rhodesia in 1967( ).


  1. 1.0 1.1 1911 Census of Redruth, RG14/13962, Brian Paddon, age 2, at Lannarth Vicarage, Redruth, Cornwall, born Carshalton, Surrey.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Royal Aero Club Aviator's Licence 10796.
  3. The London Gazette
  4. 'RAF Bomber Command Losses 1939-40' by WR Chorley page 72
  5. 'Wires & Walls' by Charles Rollings page 116
  6. WO208/3282 - Official Camp History SL1 Part I, Chapter I, Para (c)
  7. Colditz - The Full Story by Pat Reid Appendix I
  8. WO208/3288 - Official Camp History - O4C Chapter X para (2)
  9. The London Gazette
  11. "Marriages" (Marriages). The Times (London). Tuesday, 14 December 1948. (51254), col B, p. 6.
  12. "Births" (Births). The Times (London). Tuesday, 11 November 1953. (52776), col A, p. 1.
  13. The London Gazette