AIRMEN'S STORIES - Pilot Officer R. J. W. Brown
Ronald John Walker Brown joined 111 Squadron in February 1937 and was one of the first pilots to fly the new Hurricane when it came into service in December 1938. On May 31 1940 Brown shot down a Me109 over Dunkirk but was himself shot down a few days later near Abbeville. He baled out and was picked up by a retreating Guards unit that saw him onto a hospital ship for England.
He rejoined the Squadron on 15 August and served with Fighter Command in the Battle of Britain and was soon back in action on the 18th, assisting in shooting down a Dornier 17. He served throughout the rest of the war testing captured enemy aircraft and new British and American types. He later worked on developing the Martin-Baker ejector seat and eventually retired from British Aerospace in 1979 with an MBE.
Ronald Brown was born on March 9, 1914 and was educated at John Ruskin Central School in Croydon. Joining the Royal Air Force in September 1929 as an Aircraft Appentice that concluded in August 1932 when he passed out. After completing an Engine Fitter course volunteered for pilot training that he completed in November 1935. Originally posted to a bomber squadron he was transferred to 111 Squadron at Northolt in February 1937, the first to be equipped with Hurricanes and Ronald Brown flew the Hurricane in a number of technical trials.
During May 1940 although based at Northolt he was flying many patrols from French airfields only to return to Northolt each evening. On May 31, 1940 Brown shot down a Me109 over Dunkirk but was himself shot down while escorting Blenheims a few days later near Abbeville. He baled out and was picked up by a Guards unit who took him to a nearby hospital that saw him travel by train to the coast then onto a hospital ship for England. It was not until August 15, 1940 that Brown was to rejoin his squadron and three days later he shared in the destruction of a Dornier 17 that crashed and burnt out at Leaves Green near Biggin Hill.
Sgt Ralph Carnall, P/O Brown, P/O Jack Copeman F/O David Bruce & F/O Peter Simpson
He served throughout the rest of the war testing captured enemy aircraft and new British and American types. He later worked on developing the Martin-Baker ejector seat and eventually retired from British Aerospace in 1979 with an MBE for services to exports.
On 23 March 2005 his three sons plus members of their families visited the Morris Singer foundry to see the work on the London Monument where their late father's name will be inscribed together with those of his Battle of Britain comrades.
The family of P/O Ronald Brown at the Morris-Singer Foundry
It was this family that were able to provide to previously unseen photographs taken during Browns service with 111 Squadron. One of them shows the King presenting awards to squadron members at Northolt.
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"I regard it as a privilege to fight for all those things that make life worth living - freedom, honour and fair play"
Pilot Officer William "Bill" Millington Australian 79 & 249 Squadrons Fighter Command