View Full Version : Captain 'Winkle' Brown

10th November 2016, 12:43 AM
Thirty years in the air, 487 types of aircraft, 20 near-death crashes: The remarkable bravery medals and log books of Britain's greatest ever pilot - Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown - go on sale valued at £200,000. Leith-born Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown helped interrogate top Nazis after the Second World War. Following his death at the age of 97, his unparalleled collection of medals and honours is up for sale. There are fears this important piece of Britain’s military history will be snapped up by a foreign collector.Capt Brown, known as ‘Winkle’ due to his height, 5'7" was the first naval pilot to land a jet on an aircraft carrier.He is renowned as Britain’s greatest ever aviator.
In a flying career straight from the pages of Boy’s Own, Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown flew a record 487 different types of plane, survived 20 near-death crashes and helped interrogate top Nazis after the Second World War.That feat at the controls of a Vampire in 1945 was just one of a record 2,407 carrier deck landings through his career, and saw him awarded an OBE.
He had already been given an MBE after being chosen to lead the deck landing and take-off trials of the Mosquito aircraft, the first time this had been achieved in a twin-engined aircraft.Capt Brown also received the Distinguished Service Cross for action against enemy aircraft, including single-handedly shooting down a Focke-Wulf in 1941.

Throughout his extraordinary career – during which he was also the sole survivor of a U-boat attack – he meticulously documented his brave exploits in ten log books.
Methodically making notes on every new aircraft he flew in - be it British, German, American and Russian – his language was often far from technical.
Aircraft he didn’t like were labelled ‘shambles’ and ‘chaos in the cockpit’, while after testing a Gloster Meteor jet fighter he commented that it ‘climbs like the clappers’.
Describing his miraculous escape when the engine of his Hawker Tempest blew up and caught fire in July 1944, he recorded having to ‘step out at 1,000ft at 170mph’ and parachute into the sea.
Another crash-landing which saw his aircraft plough through telephone wires and a tree, bounce on a hillock, mow down anti-invasion poles and two brick walls before crashing to earth was described as a ‘really shaky do!!!’
His family has now decided to sell his honours and logbooks as a single lot, which will go under the hammer in London later this month.
But military historians fear the important medals may be lost to Britain as a result.
Simon Luxmoore, chief executive of the Royal Aeronautical Society, said: ‘We house a wide variety of rare aviation archives at our National Aerospace Library and often work with families who are making their personal choices about what to do with historical collection.

Born in Leith, Scotland, and the son of a First World War biplane pilot, he decided he wanted to follow his father’s footsteps after a trip to Germany in 1936 when he met Ernst Udet, the highest scoring German air ace of the First World War behind the Red Baron.
Udet took the 17-year-old flying in a two-seater plane and performed a number of aerobatics which left the teenager speechless.
Capt Brown’s wartime flying involved attacking Nazi oil tanks in Norway and German U-boats.

In December 1941 he miraculously survived the sinking of escort carrier HMS Audacity after a U-boat torpedo attack. He was one of 24 men who spent the night drifting in the freezing Atlantic and by the time rescue arrived he was the only one alive.
Before that he crashed a plane in while performing an aerobatic roll in front of Winston Churchill and swam clear with minor injuries.
After achieving series of firsts he continued as a test pilot after the War, flying at the speed of sound and to heights of 64,000ft as well as testing ejector seats.
During his service he met Winston Churchill and King George V and flew for the Queen and Prince Philip.

Capt Brown saw the harrowing liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and later used his fluency in German to question some of the most prominent Nazis including Hermann Göring and Heinrich Himmler.
But his closest brush with death came in 1946 during a failed attempt to break the speed of sound in bad weather. He was unable to operate his ejector seat due to the G-force but was saved when he flew into calmer conditions.
On a visit to the National Museum of Flight shortly before his death he recalled taking the controls of the world’s first rocket-powered fighter, the Messerschmitt Komet.
‘I remember watching the ground crew very carefully before take-off, wondering if they thought they were waving goodbye to me forever or whether they thought this thing was going to return,’ he said.

Having survived his audacious exploits against the odds, he was picked as the subject for the 3,000th edition of Desert Island Discs in 2014, with presenter Kirsty Young commenting that his ‘dare-devil’ life ‘makes James Bond seem like a bit of a slacker’.
Capt Brown died aged 97 in February this year at East Surrey Hospital following a short illness.
British astronaut Tim Peake tweeted a tribute from space, writing: ‘So sad to hear that Capt Eric “Winkle” Brown has died - to my mind the greatest test pilot who has ever lived.’
A spokesman for auctioneers Bonhams said: ‘The family has decided that now is the right time to move his medals and log books on and maybe benefit a museum or other institution.
‘It is a complete archive and it is something we as auctioneers would never split up. He was a true hero and a pioneer whose brave and courageous work changed the course of aviation.’
The archive is being sold in London on November 23.

Click below for the photographs, which are tremendous.

Read more: Nazi interrogator Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown's medals and log books go on sale | Daily Mail Online (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3917156/Thirty-years-air-487-types-aircraft-20-near-death-crashes-remarkable-bravery-medals-log-books-Britain-s-greatest-pilot-Captain-Eric-Winkle-Brown-sale-valued-200-000.html#ixzz4PYxvMQhm)
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Doc Vernon
10th November 2016, 03:47 AM
Very interesting Marian and a wonderful brave Man I must say!
Thank you

PS This should however be in Royal Navy Section as he was a British Navy Officer and Test Pilot!


Ivan Cloherty
10th November 2016, 08:12 AM
Just watching our local news where-in a 100 year old veteran just returned from France and was asked was it worth it, he said he had one of the proudest moments of his life when a 14 year old girl came up to him, kissed him on both cheeks and said 'Thank you for liberating our country'

Very emotional moment for those watching and gives hope that not all are forgotten

Captain Kong
10th November 2016, 10:53 AM
I think Captain Eric `Winkle` Brown`s family should Donate foc, all his medals etc, to the RN Museum. They will be preserved for the Nation.
They should not be selling them to make a profit from the efforts and dangers of his life.
They are his and belong to the Nation he fought for.

Doc Vernon
10th November 2016, 07:21 PM
He is listed on the Royal Navy Section of British Service personnel.(Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) Officers
1939-1945 ) Hope fully in time so many more will also be listed there!


Pic is a wee bit small so here is a Link to see it better

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) Officers 1939-1945* --* B (http://www.unithistories.com/officers/RNVR_officersB3.html#Brown_EM)

John F Collier
10th November 2016, 11:11 PM
#1, I think it's right that these medals should stay together as the family wants but once they are sold who knows what will
happen to them, there is a terrific Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm museum at Yeovil Somerset, personally I think that is where they belong, the government spends so much money on foreigners nowadays that we can't even honour our own heroes. JC

Colin Wood
13th November 2016, 05:20 AM
Definitely should become world heritage items. Shame pommy gov broke, but maybe can be saved as first act of Brexit!