Arthur Roy Brown
Arthur Roy Brown

He was officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen. For this action, Brown received a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross.

Arthur Roy Brown
  • Country: Canada
  • Rank: Captain
  • Service: Royal Naval Air Service
  • Royal Air Force Units:
  • 4 Naval, 9 Naval, 11 Naval (RNAS) 209 (RAF)
  • Victories: 10
  • Date Of Birth: December 23, 1893
  • Place of Birth: Carleton Place, Ontario
  • Date Of Death: March 9, 1944
  • Place of Death: Stouffville, Ontario

Intelligent but shy, Roy Brown loved to fly. After entering the Royal Naval Air Service in 1915, he was almost killed when he crashed an Avro 504 during a training flight on May 2, 1916. He recovered and was assigned to 9 Naval Squadron on the Western Front in April of 1917. Reassigned to 11 Naval Squadron, he scored his first victory on July 17, 1917, shooting down an Albatros D.III while flying a Sopwith Pup. In the fall, he rejoined 9 Naval Squadron to fly Sopwith Camels, becoming a flight commander in February of 1918. In what would become the most famous aerial combat of the war, Brown's flight encountered Jasta 11 on the morning of April 21, 1918. In the battle that followed, Brown scored his final victory of the war. Engaging a red Fokker DR.I he was officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen. For this action, Brown received a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross. In 1919, Brown left the Royal Air Force and returned to Canada where he worked as an accountant, founded a small airline and became an editor for "Canadian Aviation" magazine. During World War II, Brown entered politics after his application to join the Royal Canadian Air Force was rejected. The year before he died, he ran for Parliament but lost the election.

Combat Report

"At 10:35 a.m. I observed two Albatrosses burst into flames and crash. Dived on a large formation of fifteen to twenty Albatross scouts, D.5's, and Fokker triplanes, two of which got on my tail, and I cameout. Went back again and dived on pure red triplane which was firing on Lieutenant Wilfrid May. I got a long burst into him, and he went down vertically and was observed to crash by Lieutenant Francis Mellersh and Lieutenant May. I fired on two more but did not get them." Brown's combat report, April 21, 1918

Quotes

"If he had been my dearest friend, I could not have felt greater sorrow." Roy Brown, on viewing the body of Manfred von Richthofen

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

"For the excellent work he has done on active service. On September 3, 1917, he attacked a two-seater Aviatik, in company with his flight. The enemy machine was seen to dive down vertically, the enemy observer falling over on the side of the fuselage, shot. On September 5, 1917, in company with his formation, he attacked an Albatros scout and two-seater, driving them away from our lines. One machine was observed to go down apparently out of control. On September 15, 1917, whilst on patrol, he dived on two Aviatiks and three Albatros scouts, followed by his flight. He dived several times and picked out one enemy scout, firing about 200 rounds, when the enemy machine went down out of control, spinning on its back. On September 20, 1917, whilst leading his flight, he dived on five Albatros scouts. Flight Lieutenant Brown picked out one enemy machine and opened fire. One of his guns jammed, but he carried on with the other. The enemy machine went down out of control and over on its back and remained in that position for about twenty seconds, whilst Flight Lieutenant Brown continued firing until his other gun jammed. The enemy machine then disappeared in the clouds, still on its back. Another officer of the same patrol was later followed by four enemy machines, as he was separated from the formation. Both Flight Lieutenant Brown's guns were jammed, but he dived on the enemy machines and drove them off, thus undoubtably saving the pilot's life." DSC citation, London Gazette, November 2, 1917

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)

"For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On April 21, 1918, while leading a patrol of six scouts he attacked a formation of twenty hostile scouts. He personally engaged two Fokker triplanes, which he drove off; then, seeing that one of our machines was being attacked and apparently hard pressed, he dived on the hostile scout, firing the while. This scout, a Fokker triplane, nose dived and crashed to the ground. Since the award of the Distinguished Service Cross, he has destroyed several other enemy aircraft and has shown great dash and enterprise in attacking enemy troops from low altitudes despite heavy anti-aircraft fire." DSC Bar citation, London Gazette Supplement, June 21, 1918