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BRAASCH, Helga (1917-2003) – of Germany, Peru … and Wickhamford

Helga Marie Louise Wilhelmine Braasch was born during the Great War, on 9th July 1917 in Malente-Gremsuhen, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.  She was the daughter of Heinrich Himrich Wilhelm Braasch and his wife, Harriet née Bluhme.  This couple divorced in 1920, in Hamburg, and she then remarried.  Her second husband was George Hans Louis Petersen.   This couple lived in Peru and the British Overseas Consular records show that Helga Braasch married Ernest R Davis there during the period 1936-1940 (no precise date is given in the records).

This couple travelled to England in 1940, arriving here on 4th March.   Ernest Rene Davis was in the Royal Air Force by 1941.   As a Pilot P/O he flew from the airfield at Scampton, near Lincoln, on a training flight in a Hampden AD935 bomber of 83 Squadron on 14th August.   He had probably telephoned his wife, Helga, to tell her that he would be flying directly over the house where she was employed.  At this time she was working at Hodys Place, Manor Road, Wickhamford, as a domestic servant and nanny in the Loehnis household.   He flew across to Evesham and then towards Wickhamford, following Wickhamford Lane.  Here he flew too low, clipped some trees and crashed in an orchard at the junction of Golden Lane and Willersey Road.  Ernest Davis and one other of his two crew members were killed.  

Helga was employed as a nanny by Clive Loehnis, who was a Commander in the Operational Intelligence Division of the Admiralty.  As he was the son of a barrister of German extraction it is probable that he spoke German and this may be why Helga found employment with him.

Helga later moved to Finchley, working as a nurse, and then she returned to Peru.  She left Plymouth on 4th January 1946 on the ‘Jutlandia’ travelling to Buenos Aires, but the passenger list gives her final destination as Peru.  In Peru, she remarried, in a civil ceremony, to Carlos Schroth.  Helga had a son and a daughter by this marriage and died in Surco, Peru on 6th April 2003.   Her mother had died in Peru in 1980.

Footnote

The information that led to this piece of research was a family tree on Ancestry which gave only three details of Helga Braasch’s life – her birth in Germany in 1917, that she was a domestic servant in Wickhamford in 1941 and that she died in Peru in 2003.

Tom Locke – October 2019