Captain A. Roy Brown
Born on 23 December 1893 in Carleton Place, Ontario the son of a flour mill and power company owner, Brown was one of five children. After high school, Brown studied at business school to take his place running the family businesses.
A somewhat shy but intelligent young man, Brown enlisted in 1915 as an Officer Cadet at the Army Officers' Training Corps. Although Brown expressed interest in joining the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) his father, concerned at the high casualty rate for RFC pilots, declined Brown's request for elementary flying school lessons. Consequently Brown, along with three friends, applied to join the Royal Navy Air Service (RNAS) upon Roy completing his schooling in Edmonton, while living with his Aunt and Uncle.
Finding that they needed Aero certificates before they could join the RNAS, the group of young men embarked upon flying lessons conducted at the Wright Brothers school in Dayton, Ohio.
On 13 November 1915 Brown emerged from training with his pilot's certificate after just six hours air time. Brown set sail for England on 22 November 1915 and upon his arrival Brown underwent further training at Chingford.
On 2 May 1916 Brown crashed his AVRO 504 aircraft, initially emerging apparently unscathed. It was only on the following morning that he experienced severe back pain; upon investigation it was revealed that he had broken one of his vertebrae. In consequence Brown spent the next two months recuperating in hospital. In September 1916 Brown, by now recovered, was posted to Eastchurch Gunnery School and was sent for advanced training at Cranwell some four months later.
In March 1917 Brown was given a posting to No. 9 Naval Squadron and given a Sopwith Pup aircraft. Later reassigned to 11 Naval Squadron, Roy Brown scored his first aerial victory on July 17, 1917, shotting down an Albatros D.III in his Sopwith Pup. In the fall, Brown rejoined 9 Naval Squadron flying Sopwith Camels, becoming a flight commander in February of 1918.
On the morning of April 21st, 1918, Captain A. Roy Brown would engage in the most famous aerial battle of the war and be credited with the downing of a red Fokker DR.1, flown by none other than Baron Manfred von Richthofen aka "The Red Baron".
For this action, Brown received a bar to his distinguished Service Cross medal.
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.
Brown died on 9 March 1944, of a heart attack, in Stouffville, Ontario, shortly after posing for a photograph with a current Canadian flying ace, George Beurling. He was 50 years old. He is buried, with his wife, Edythe, in the Toronto Necropolis Cemetary.