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Captain Eric 'Winkle' Brown

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
BBC2 1900 tonight, Britain's Greatest Pilot, most regions (iPlayer also)

Might be worth a watch @Billy Q. Captain Brown describes firing 0.5 calibre rounds from a Wildcat aircraft, flown from HMS Audacity. He claims to have identified the only blind firing-arc on the Focke-Wulf Condor and flew head-on, shooting the aircraft down by firing into the cockpit.
 
B

Billy Q

Guest
BBC2 1900 tonight, Britain's Greatest Pilot, most regions (iPlayer also)

Might be worth a watch @Billy Q. Captain Brown describes firing 0.5 calibre rounds from a Wildcat aircraft, flown from HMS Audacity. He claims to have identified the only blind firing-arc on the Focke-Wulf Condor and flew head-on, shooting the aircraft down by firing into the cockpit.

You are tempting me to respond to my assertion that S/Lt(A) EM Brown RNVR never fired a shot in anger. So I will.

When I joined the navy, immediately post- war, there was much talk of who really deserved what in the way of decorations and awards.

Winkle Brown was often mentioned.

Let me first tell you what I knew of the man as I met him once or twice.

He was highly intelligent. Of Audacity's crew just him and the Surg Lt had been to University and gained degrees so he was bit of a rarity.. He was a first-rate pilot with a good eye and superb hand to eye co-ordination and he had one of the most important attributes as a Test pilot-- He was slight and diminutive.

Navalised aircraft of that period had precious cockpit room, as the additional folding wings and arrester hook controls took up much space.

When navalised aircraft were being tested for airworthiness, more equipment was necessarily installed.

It required a very small pilot.and Winkle fitted the bill.

He carried out that work admirably.

So far as 802 A group, B group was aboard Argus, is concerned, on the loss of Audacity just two 802 Squadron officers and no Air Division Officers survived.

The two were Winkle and S/Lt (A)Roderick Russell Lamb both pilots. Sadly Lamb died out of Illustrious in August 1942 in Kenya. He is buried in Mbarald Cemetary Mombassa so his evidence was not available to The Lords Commissioners

This left just Winkle to claim one of the A Group Squadrons Citation awards which he did.

He was the only living one left. Corroboration is necessary when making such awards to individuals in fighter squadrons and Winkle, now in Canada, told of his uncorroborated exploits.

Make of that what you will. He wasn't the most likeable of men- being somewhat conceited in my opinion, but a first class Test Pilot nevertheless.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

fishhead

War Hero
I think you're entitled to be as conceited as you like when you're so good at your job. I've read elsewhere he didn't suffer fools gladly as he expected the same high standards that he expected of himself.
 

Ninja_Stoker

War Hero
Moderator
You are tempting me to respond to my assertion that S/Lt(A) EM Brown RNVR never fired a shot in anger. So I will.

When I joined the navy, immediately post- war, there was much talk of who really deserved what in the way of decorations and awards.

Winkle Brown was often mentioned.

Let me first tell you what I knew of the man as I met him once or twice.

He was highly intelligent. Of Audacity's crew just him and the Surg Lt had been to University and gained degrees so he was bit of a rarity.. He was a first-rate pilot with a good eye and superb hand to eye co-ordination and he had one of the most important attributes as a Test pilot-- He was slight and diminutive.

Navalised aircraft of that period had precious cockpit room, as the additional folding wings and arrester hook controls took up much space.

When navalised aircraft were being tested for airworthiness, more equipment was necessarily installed.

It required a very small pilot.and Winkle fitted the bill.

He carried out that work admirably.

So far as 802 A group, B group was aboard Argus, is concerned, on the loss of Audacity just two 802 Squadron officers and no Air Division Officers survived.

The two were Winkle and S/Lt (A)Roderick Russell Lamb both pilots. Sadly Lamb died out of Illustrious in August 1942 in Kenya. He is buried in Mbarald Cemetary Mombassa so his evidence was not available to The Lords Commissioners

This left just Winkle to claim one of the A Group Squadrons Citation awards which he did.

He was the only living one left. Corroboration is necessary when making such awards to individuals in fighter squadrons and Winkle, now in Canada, told of his uncorroborated exploits.

Make of that what you will. He wasn't the most likeable of men- being somewhat conceited in my opinion, but a first class Test Pilot nevertheless.
A conceited pilot? Perish the very thought.

I've not met a fighter pilot that could truly list humility and affection (for other people) as top of their personal qualities, but that is arguably why they tend to be competent in their job as stated by @fishhead.

Many would be loathe to bring into question another person's decorated achievements, particularly at this juncture - without first-hand evidence or knowledge to irrefutably substantiate the claim.

Clearly you are not one of many, and maybe you genuinely know different. Like you, I cannot irrefutably prove otherwise.
 
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