Pilot Officer George Rawson Brown
On 31st May 1943, Wing Commander “Johnnie” Johnson led No.403 and No.421 Squadrons, as second fighter sweep to twelve Ventura bombers targeting Zeebrugge. They crossed the coast at 100ft over Deal, Kent, and climbed to 18,000ft over Nieuport, where the orbitted, before flying on to Bruges and Ostend.
As they returned to Nieuport, more than twenty-five FW190’s were sighted 500ft below and the Wing engaged them in combat. At 5.49pm, Blue section of No.403 squadron was attacked by two of the enemy fighters.
Flying Officer “Norm” Fowlow warned Brown to take evasive action and saw his aircraft (Spitfire LZ955) get hit.
I called Blue 4 (Sgt. Brown) and told him to bank hard port. The first FW 190 overshot him but the second got a burst into him. He slipped slowly to port with a thin black smoke pouring from his a/c.
Three of the other pilots distinctly heard Brown say ‘goodbye’ in a debonair fashion over the radio. A white parachute was seen to blossom but no trace of Brown was ever found.
George Rawson Brown was the son of Walter George Brown, a merchant, and Marjorie Brown (nee. Holland) of Bartonville, Ontario. Both of his parents were born in England but had taken Canadian citizenship. George was born 7th June 1923, in Brantford, Ontario and had one sister, Marjorie.
Brown enlisted in the RCAF, on August 4th, 1941. Prior to that he had worked as a tyre repairman, a clerk in a grocery store and a delivery driver. At school he had excelled in track and field, football and swimming. Assessing his suitability for the RCAF, his interviewing officer remarked that he was “a boy of good appearance who should make good as a pilot,” and so it proved to be.
Brown did his Initial Training at Belleville (Course 39), his flying training at St. Eugene (Course 45) and went on to be awarded his pilot’s “wings” on 17th July, 1942, after Course 52 at Moncton.
He excelled at formation flying and was above average at aerobatics and air combat. He was also hard working and keen to serve overseas; an aim he fulfilled on August 6th 1942, joining 403 squadron in December that year.
“Brownie” was 19 years old when he was killed in action on 31st May 1943.
George Rawson Brown, having no known grave, is remembered on the Runnymede Memorial and the War Memorial at his former school – Delta Collegiate Institute in Hamilton, Ontario.
Rest in peace Sir and thank you for your service.