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The Airmen's Stories - P/O R J W Brown  


Ronald John Walker Brown was born on 9th March 1914 and went to John Ruskin Central School, Croydon. He joined the RAF as an Aircraft Apprentice in September 1929 on No. 20 course RAF Halton and passed out in August 1932. After an Engine Fitter course he was posted to the Flying Wing at RAF College, Cranwell, as an AC1.

He received many ‘unofficial’ hours dual training on Tutor and Atlas aircraft there. He applied for pilot training and was selected in late 1935. He joined No. 20 Course at RAF Halton.



In December 1935 Brown joined 10 (Bomber) Squadron at Boscombe Down, solely on the strength of his soccer prowess as an RAF football representative. He went to 9 E&RFTS Ansty in May 1936, then to 9 FTS Thornaby in July, received his wings in November and joined 111 Squadron at Northolt on 22nd February 1937.

The squadron was the first to be equipped with Hurricanes, in December 1937, and was used a great deal in tactical trials. On 18th January 1938 Brown became the third pilot on the squadron to fly a Hurricane.

In May 1940 111 Squadron carried out daily patrols over France, sometimes operating from French airfields, returning to Northolt in the evening. On 31st May over Dunkirk Brown got a probable Me109.

On 6th June he was shot down by a Me109 in Hurricane I P2885 when escorting Blenheims in the Abbeville area. He baled out and luckily was picked up by a Guards unit moving south, taken to a field hospital, put on a train and then sent in a hospital ship back to England.


111 Squadron 1940

Sgt. R Carnall, P/O RJW Brown, P/O JHH Copeman, F/O DC Bruce, F/O PJ Simpson.


He rejoined the Squadron on 15th August and was back in action on the 18th, assisting in shooting down a Do17. It crashed and burned out at Leaves Green, near Biggin Hill. This was the aircraft claimed inaccurately at the time by the Home Guard, members of which fired at it with rifles. On 24th August he damaged a Me109 and on 2nd September he shared in destroying a He111 and damaging another Me109.

Commissioned in September, Brown was posted to 260 Squadron at Castletown on 7th December 1940 to train new pilots. On 2nd February 1941 he went to the AFDU at Duxford, where he flew enemy and American aircraft.

In October 1941 Brown was posted to the Ministry of Aircraft Production and transferred to the RAF Engineering Branch, closely involved with aircraft development and much later with the Martin Baker ejector seat.

Brown retired from the RAF on 12th May 1947 as a Squadron Leader, retaining the rank of Wing Commander. He joined Percival Aircraft as Technical Sales Manager.

He had flown 38 types of aircraft including the Me109 and Fiat CR42 (below).




In 1962 he moved to BAC and retired from British Aerospace in April 1979, as Executive Director (Marketing and Sales). He was made MBE for services to exports.

He died on 9th November 2003.




On 23rd 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 were able to supply a photo of Ronald Brown being presented to the King (below).





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