Victor Charles Edelsten Bracey was born in October 1897, the only child of William and Florence Bracey. William was a physician and surgeon, practicing in Lancashire when Victor was born. The young family soon moved south, however, and by the time of the 1901 census, they were living in Wedmore, Somerset, where William had taken up as the village’s general practitioner.
Military records for Victor are not available, but his life can readily be pieced together from newspaper reports of his death and the de Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, published after the war.
TWO PILOTS KILLED IN THE NEW FOREST
Two air fatalities have occurred within twenty-four hours of each other in the New Forest. On Saturday [22nd September 1917] Second Lieutenant Ernest Hargrave’s machine nose-dived from the height of 200ft, and crashed to earth.
Second Lieutenant Victor Bracey was flying on Sunday morning at a height of 300ft, when his machine turned and came down in a spinning nose-dive.
At the inquests verdicts of “Death by misadventure” were returned.Western Gazette: Friday 28th September 1917
BRACEY, VICTOR CHARLES EDELSTEN, 2nd Lieut., RFC, only child of William Edelsten Bracey, LRCP [Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians], Lieut. (Hon.) RAMC (retired), by his wife, Florence Marion, dau. of the late James Canning Gould.
[Victor was] educated St Peter’s School, Weston-super-Mare, and Blundell’s School, Tiverton, where he was a member of the OTC [Officers’ Training Corps]; passed into the Royal Military Academy in April 1915; joined the Inns of Court OTC in December 1916; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. RFC [Royal Flying Corps] 27 April 1917, obtaining his wings in July, and was killed in an aerial accident at the Beaulieu Aerodrome, Hampshire, 23 September, while testing a new machine.
A brother officer wrote that he was a gallant gentleman and a most skilful pilot.” He was a keen cricketer and footballer, and while at Blundell’s played in the First Cricket XI and the Second Football XV, and was also captain of the First Hockey XI; later played for the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, and the RFC Rugby Football XV at Oxford.de Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour, 1914-1919
A note on Second Lieutenant Bracey’s Roll of Honour states that he was ineligible for medals as he saw no overseas service; this seems to have been challenged by Victor’s father in 1921, but nothing confirms whether this anything was subsequently awarded.
Victor Charles Edelsten Bracey lies at rest in the churchyard of St Mary’s in Wedmore, where his father continued to practice. He died, aged just 19 years of age.
William’s prominence in the village played a big part in Victor’s legacy. A Memorial Fund was set up; this helped fund “necessitous cases for medical requirements and for conveying patients to hospitals“. The Victor Bracey Cup was also awarded into the 1940s for sporting achievement in the schools he had attended.