James S. Browne was my cousin and my neighbor. An American from Winnetka, IL, he had just finished high school, received his pilot’s license while he was in school, and, since America was not in the war yet, he went to join the RCAF in Montreal in May 1941.
He wound up with the ATA, signing a contract with British Overseas Airways Corporation on May 22, 1941 as Second Officer in the ATA. Jim loved flying and I know flying the high-powered aircraft across the British Isles was a delight for him. Unfortunately, he was a bit wild and had some disciplinary problems, so his contract was terminated on March 28, 1942 and he returned to Winnetka. He told many of us of the wonderful work of the ATA and how much it meant to him to be part of it. We didn’t know about his termination, but he remained loyal to ATA.
While in the U.S. he was recruited by Pan American Airways to fly C-47s across the infamous Himalayan Hump for China National Aviation Corporation. On May 1942 he was flying from Kunming, China to Dinjan, India, and his plane disaappeared. In October 2011 we funded a search team to an area where we believed the plane crashed and the wreckage was found and positively identified. Jim was just 21.