Record-breaking WWII veteran, Eric "Winkle" Brown, dies aged 97


Blackleaf
#1
The Royal Navy's most decorated pilot, Capt Eric "Winkle" Brown, has died at the age of 97.

Capt Brown also held the world record for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft - 487.

During World War Two, Capt Brown, who was born in Leith in 1919, flew fighter aircraft and witnessed the British liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

On 4 December 1945, Capt Brown made the first ever landing of a purely jet-powered aircraft onto an aircraft carrier - HMS Ocean.

The pilot, who had been appointed MBE, OBE and CBE, died at East Surrey Hospital after a short illness.

A statement released by his family said: "It is with deep regret that the passing of Captain Eric Melrose Brown CBE DSC AFC is announced."

Eric 'Winkle' Brown: Celebrated British pilot dies, aged 97


BBC News
21 February 2016


Eric "Winkle" Brown was given the nickname "periwinkle" because of his diminutive height


The Royal Navy's most decorated pilot, Capt Eric "Winkle" Brown, has died at the age of 97.

Capt Brown also held the world record for flying the greatest number of different types of aircraft - 487.

During World War Two, Capt Brown, who was born in Leith in 1919, flew fighter aircraft and witnessed the British liberation of Bergen Belsen concentration camp.

On 4 December 1945, Capt Brown made the first ever landing of a purely jet-powered aircraft onto an aircraft carrier - HMS Ocean.

The pilot, who had been appointed MBE, OBE and CBE, died at East Surrey Hospital after a short illness.

A statement released by his family said: "It is with deep regret that the passing of Captain Eric Melrose Brown CBE DSC AFC is announced.

"Eric was the most decorated pilot of the Fleet Air Arm in which service he was universally known as 'Winkle' on account of his diminutive stature.

"He also held three absolute Guinness World Records, including for the number of aircraft carrier deck landings and types of aeroplane flown."


Capt Brown flew 2,407 aircraft carrier landings

Capt Brown was educated at Edinburgh's Royal High School, before studying at the University of Edinburgh, where he learned to fly.

He had caught the bug for flying at the age of eight when his father, a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps during World War One, took him up in a bi-plane.

"There was no second seat, but I sat on his lap and he let me handle the stick," he told the BBC in 2014.

"It was exhilarating. You saw the earth from a completely different standpoint."

He retired from the Royal Navy in 1970 but became the director general of the British Helicopter Advisory Board and later the president of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1982.

Landmark life

Flew 487 different types of aircraft, a world record that is unlikely ever to be matched

Piloted 2,407 aircraft carrier landings

Appointed MBE, OBE and CBE

Survived 11 plane crashes and the sinking of HMS Audacity in 1941

Met Churchill and King George VI numerous times

Was at the British liberation of Bergen Belsen

Became the first pilot to land on and take-off from an aircraft carrier in a jet aircraft

Interrogated some of the leading Nazis after the war, including Heinrich Himmler, Hermann Goering and Belsen's chief guards Josef Kramer and Irma Grese



On 4 December 1945, Capt Brown made the first ever landing of a purely jet-powered aircraft onto an aircraft carrier - HMS Ocean (above)

Capt Brown wrote numerous books of his own and forewords for other authors on the theme of aviation, before and after his retirement.

In March 2015 a bronze bust of him was unveiled at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset.

At his 97th birthday celebration in London on 27 January he was joined by more than 100 pilots, including the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir George Zambellas.

In 2014 , the war veteran was picked as the subject for the 3,000th edition of BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs (external - login to view), during which he was described by presenter Kirsty Young as a "real life hero" and a "remarkable daredevil".

"When you read through his life story, it makes James Bond seem like a bit of a slacker," she said.

On 4 December 1945, Captain Winkle Brown became the first pilot to land on and take-off from an aircraft carrier (HMS Ocean) in a jet aircraft. The aircraft he flew - the de Havilland Sea Vampire LZ551/G - is now preserved at the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Yeovilton, Somerset. Watch the video:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNoUBil7A3c (external - login to view)


Capt Brown was at the British liberation of Bergen Belsen



Brown, second right, with colleagues on a Spitfire in 1944


Eric Brown's life was celebrated by BBC Radio Four's Desert Island Discs in 2014



Eric 'Winkle' Brown: Celebrated British pilot dies, aged 97 - BBC News (external - login to view)
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 22nd, 2016 at 07:37 AM..
 
lone wolf
#2
Vampire with a tail hook .... Risky! Rest in peace
 
Ludlow
#3
Good long life . Hopefully he can rest now. Sometimes I wonder if we live too many years these days. When you get on the high side of middle age the aches and pains intensify daily and the doctors just keep us going. Not sure I'd want to live that long although I've seen elderly people in their 80's still enjoying life, taking walks and riding bikes . Anyway, RIP.
 
Curious Cdn
+1
#4  Top Rated Post
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

Vampire with a tail hook .... Risky! Rest in peace

Very cool!

Thank you, Blackie.

I was thinking ...a plywood Vampire with a tail hook! Yikes!

A close family friend of ours flew Vampires after the war with an RCAF reserve squadron out in BC. He was a hot-shot Mosquito pilot during the war who both survived being shot down in France and made it back to UK by the French Underground pipeline. He was a character.

Anyway, one more direct witness of the Holocaust passes on giving the deniers that much more poison to spread their dreadful lie with.
Last edited by Curious Cdn; Feb 22nd, 2016 at 06:34 PM..
 
darkbeaver
#5
Interesting man, what a life of adventure, builds character. Smaller guys can take crashes better. Does it say how many flying hours he has?
 
damngrumpy
#6
Incredible man you know some of these guys who survived WWII are what they
say They don't make them like that anymore. Yes we have modern day hero's
but these guys didn't have much time to build a career someone was shooting
as them most of the time it was a career on the fly as it were. May he rest in
peace and a huge thank you for the service you gave and in the way you served.
 
Blackleaf
#7
This is a list of the aircraft types flown by Captain Eric "Winkle" Brown, RN. The list is the one drawn up and verified by the Guinness Book of Records.

The list includes only the main aircraft types. For example, Brown flew fourteen different Marks of Spitfire/Seafire, but only the basic types are listed here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...inkle%22_Brown (external - login to view)

Overall, he has flown British, American, German, Italian, and Japanese aircraft, and has flown more types of aircraft than anyone in history, including helicopters, fighters, gliders, bombers, amphibious and flying boats, and airliners. He was also the British Fleet Air Arm’s most decorated pilot, and he holds two world records for aircraft carrier landings: 2,407 fixed-wing and 212 rotary-wing.




Quote: Originally Posted by darkbeaverView Post

Interesting man, what a life of adventure, builds character. Smaller guys can take crashes better. Does it say how many flying hours he has?

He logged approximately 4,000 helicopter flight hours, 7,000 jet flight hours, and 7,000 prop flight hours.

Here's an interview with him: www.helicopterfoundation.org/...Eric_Brown.pdf (external - login to view)

The British hero who could have been the first man on the moon (if he hadn't been too patriotic to give up his passport): Why we'll never see the likes of legendary pilot Eric 'Winkle' Brown again

Eric Brown survived the sinking of his plane and multiple crashes in the war

He could have been the first man on the moon if he agreed to be a U.S. citizen

Mr Brown
was the first man to land a jet on an aircraft carrier

By Robert Hardman for the Daily Mail
23 February 2016
Daily Mail


Eric Brown did not just witness history at first hand. He made it himself — at sea, in the sky and in one of the ghastliest places on Earth

Eric Brown did not just witness history at first hand. He made it himself — at sea, in the sky and in one of the ghastliest places on Earth.

This charming, fearless and extremely clever Scotsman will be chiefly remembered as one of the greatest aviators of all time, a man so revered in flying circles that he was even a hero to the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong.

For no one has ever — nor will ever — fly as many different aircraft as Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown CBE DSC AFC of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm, who died on Sunday.

At the end of World War II — during which he survived the Gestapo, the sinking of his aircraft carrier and several plane crashes – Eric helped liberate Belsen and bring some of the greatest ogres of modern history to justice. Thereafter, as a supremely gifted test pilot, he did much to give the West a crucial lead over the Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War.

He was the first man to land a jet on an aircraft carrier (his feats are still studied to this day). But his expertise has benefited anyone getting on a plane today. As recently as ten years ago, he was still being consulted by Airbus on designs for its A380.

And now a new book reveals Eric might have been the first man on the moon had he agreed to accept U.S. citizenship. A fiercely patriotic former ADC to the Queen, he refused to surrender his British passport with the result that the UK has had to wait more than 45 years to hear the extra-terrestrial musings of Major Tim Peake instead.

Eric was extremely good company, as those lucky enough to have met him, myself included, will testify. There aren't very many people whose passing at the age of 97 might be described as a 'shock'. But such was the cheerful indefatigability of this wholly self-sufficient legend — who was driving himself around in a new convertible just last summer — that it was easy to imagine he would simply keep on going for ever.


This charming, fearless and extremely clever Scotsman (pictured with his wife Lynn) will be chiefly remembered as one of the greatest aviators of all time, a man so revered in flying circles that he was even a hero to the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong


He owed his love of planes to his father, a Royal Flying Corps pilot during World War I

That is why the world of aviation is in mourning. Less than a month ago many of Britain's top pilots gathered to toast his 97th birthday.

Only last year, he was a guest at Downing Street and in the greeting line during the Queen's state visit to Germany.

His family and friends are already planning a fabulous memorial service at the Fleet Air Arm's Yeovilton home, though it also raises an intriguing question: how the hell are they going to organise a flypast for Eric?

It will be nigh on impossible to do justice to the career of a man whose three Guinness World Records include flying 487 different types of aircraft, including several death traps and a captured Nazi rocket plane.

He owed his love of planes to his father, a Royal Flying Corps pilot during World War I. Such was the rapport between Great War fliers that his father was invited to the 1936 Berlin Olympics and took Eric with him. He met the gregarious Ernst Udet, a formidable fighter ace second only to Baron von Richtofen. Eric was taken up for a stomach-churning spin in Udet's stunt plane — and was hooked.

Back at Edinburgh Royal High School, he excelled at languages and went on to study German at Edinburgh University. He also joined the university air squadron.

In the summer of 1939, unaware of looming hostilities, Eric was on a teaching exchange in Germany, as he told me during our first meeting at his Sussex home ten years ago.

'One morning, there was a knock and there was this SS officer who announced: 'Our countries are at war.' I was under arrest.'

He was held prisoner by the Gestapo for three days before being driven to the Swiss border in a student exchange. He dashed home to sign up as a pilot. The RAF was over-subscribed, but the Navy needed pilots for its Fleet Air Arm.

With the Battle of Britain raging, Eric ended up in Scotland mastering a new American plane. He was part of a display laid on to impress Winston Churchill. Unfortunately, engine failure led to a forced landing in the sea in front of the Prime Minister. 'He did send me his condolences later,' Eric added.


As Britain came under attack from V1 flying bombs in 1944, Eric was part of the top secret unit charged with intercepting them

Known as 'Winkle' due to his 5ft 7in build, Eric soon proved his worth at sea serving in HMS Audacity and received the Distinguished Service Cross (the Naval equivalent of the MC) for gallantry. But in December 1941, Audacity was hit by a torpedo.

Of 26 who survived the attack, Eric was one of just two fished out of the freezing sea alive.

During his convalescence, he married his sweetheart, Lynn, and made the first of what would be many trips to Buckingham Palace to receive his DSC. But his talent for landing planes in the trickiest circumstances had marked him out for special duties — as a test pilot.

When someone was needed to try a new catapult launch system for aircraft carriers or to see if it was possible to land a Mosquito at sea (it was), he was summoned — when he wasn't commanding a Canadian Spitfire squadron over occupied France.

As Britain came under attack from V1 flying bombs in 1944, he was part of the top secret unit charged with intercepting them. For the first and only time in his life, he had to bale out when the engine of his plane caught fire.

What happened next was pure Dad's Army as he landed in a duck pond and was cornered by an angry bull. 'The Home Guard wouldn't go near it,' he would chuckle. In the end, he was rescued by the farmer.

As the Allies fought through Europe, he was assigned to a special unit capturing and testing enemy aircraft. As a result, he had to try out everything from the near-suicidal Messerschmitt 163, a rocket plane running on liquid explosive, to Himmler's personal Focke-Wulf Condor with its luxury kitchen and armour-plated loo.

In 1945, he had just landed at an abandoned German airfield when he met an Allied unit heading to explore reports of atrocities at a nearby concentration camp called Bergen Belsen. With his fluent German, Eric was invited along to help with interpretation.


As the Allies fought through Europe, Eric was assigned to a special unit capturing and testing enemy aircraft.


In 1945, Mr Brown had just landed at an abandoned German airfield when he met an Allied unit heading to explore reports of atrocities at a nearby concentration camp called Bergen Belsen

What he saw would mark him for life. 'It was utterly, utterly horrific,' he reflected on the same spot 70 years later. 'Ten thousand bodies littered around and the survivors had been dehumanised. They were like animals.'

He was one of a small group of survivors and liberators invited to meet the Queen there during last June's state visit. What he would also remember to his dying day was the female camp commandant, Irma Grese — 'The worst human being I ever encountered.'

He would go on to interrogate other senior Nazis, including Hermann Goering and Germany's top plane designers, Willy Messerschmitt and Ernst Heinkel, before returning to duty in the sky where he was charged with everything from researching why planes disappeared in storms to testing new gizmos called helicopters.

At one point, the U.S. Navy charged one of its pilots with beating Eric's record of 2,407 landings on aircraft carriers. The poor chap got as far as 1,600 before a nervous breakdown intervened.

The Americans were huge fans of Eric. A new book on the Space Shuttle, Into The Black, by Rowland White, reveals that, during the Sixties, Eric was invited to be part of the same X15 space rocket programme as Neil Armstrong and his colleagues. But the precondition was taking U.S. citizenship. Years later, however, he would become good friends with Armstrong who hailed Eric as a 'role model'. Praise indeed.

Did he have any regrets? According to his friend, TV producer Nicholas Jones, who made the film, Eric Brown, A Pilot's Story, Eric wished that he — and Britain — had been the first to break the sound barrier, instead of America's Chuck Yeager.

But it was impossible to meet this eternally cheerful, modest man and not come away humbled by the scale of his achievements, even if we now take them for granted. 'Anybody who flies in a plane today — as a passenger or pilot — owes a great debt to the bravery and tenacity of Eric Brown,' said his friend, defence expert Paul Beaver, last night.

Lynn died in 1998. But he is survived not only by his son, Glenn, his grandchildren, great grandchildren and his companion, Jean — but by a legacy which is beyond compare.


Read more: British hero Eric Brown could have been the first man on the moon | Daily Mail Online
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MHz
#8
I would say RIP but I hear he was deaf for all intensive purposes.
 
Blackleaf
#9
Quote: Originally Posted by MHzView Post

I would say RIP but I hear he was deaf for all intensive purposes.

Well he may well have been deaf at the age of 97.

 
MHz
#10
. . . . or from the artillery sounds that come with war.
 
Blackleaf
#11
Quote: Originally Posted by MHzView Post

. . . . or from the artillery sounds that come with war.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UKpZxM-c9w (external - login to view)
 
MHz
#12
Is that Putin at the 0:19 mark??
www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnX_mQ9apu8 (external - login to view)
 
EagleSmack
#13
Best movie and no Briddish
 
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