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'Winkle' Brown story

Old 15th Nov 2014, 22:49
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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I've said it before and I'll probably say it again...


Some years ago, a facsimile edition of the flying log books of RR Stanford-Tuck was produced and I believe, sold out fairly quickly. If someone were to do the same with the log books of Captain Brown, I would pay a tidy sum for a copy. On the recent Desert Island Discs programme I think he mentioned there were 11 or maybe 12 log books detailing his flying!
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Old 17th Nov 2014, 07:58
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Originally Posted by P6 Driver View Post
I've said it before and I'll probably say it again...


Some years ago, a facsimile edition of the flying log books of RR Stanford-Tuck was produced and I believe, sold out fairly quickly. If someone were to do the same with the log books of Captain Brown, I would pay a tidy sum for a copy. On the recent Desert Island Discs programme I think he mentioned there were 11 or maybe 12 log books detailing his flying!
The Society of Experimental Test Pilots boasts amongst its membership most of the world's most interesting pilots. Think Brown, Aldrin, Armstrong, Hoover, Lovell, Rutan, Gilliland, Mikoyan, Farley, Cooper, Chapman, ... Look for the gold "X" flying suit shoulder patch in recent years. Pretty much always visible if you watch video clips of first flights and suchlike worldwide - whether that's Scaled or Eurofighter: Boeing or Airbus

It also runs two charitable foundations, the larger of which is to support the education of the children of deceased TPs. I've suggested to the last two presidents that notable members, or if they've passed on, their families, could be approached about publishing facsimiles of their logbooks to raise money for the two SETP foundations. If there are any other TPs reading this, they could always try adding their voice to mine, as I still think that it is one of my better ideas.

G

Last edited by Genghis the Engineer; 17th Nov 2014 at 08:09.
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Old 19th Nov 2014, 09:02
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Eric's first flight - a puzzle?

I'm new to the forum, so pardon me sticking my size 9s in out of the blue! I've been a voracious consumer of EB's memoirs since first reading Wings of the Weird & Wonderful some years ago, and I agree that it's a mystery that he's never received a Knighthood for his services.
I wonder if anybody could solve a small conundrum which has been puzzling me for some time?
It's this: Eric recalls that he first flew at the age of eight or ten, sitting on his Dad's lap in a Gauntlet. This would have been January 1930 at the latest. However, the SS19 Gauntlet first flew in 1933 and didn't enter RAF service until 1935.
So the aircraft in question may have been a Grebe, Gamecock, Siskin or possibly a Bulldog (which would have been brand new at the time) - OR Eric was in his mid to late teens when he took that flight (unlikely, considering his customary clarity of recall).
It seems to me that only his father's flight logs could answer this definitively - but does anybody have an answer to this?
Thanks, Spadge
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Old 22nd Nov 2014, 14:23
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Welcome to the forum Spadge.

Damned if I know, but it's a good spot. I suppose the obvious answer is that it was something like a Grebe or Gamecock - even EB's memory can't be faultless, although it usually seems to be.

Why not write and ask him? I'm sure that a letter via his publisher would get there quickly enough, and in my experience, is always very generous with his time and knowledge, and I'm sure would answer you.

G
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Old 23rd Nov 2014, 17:11
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I was lunching with a friend recently, who told me a tale that when Eric Brown was asked to write a comment on a book abour Hanna Reitsch, simply wrote 'Nazi Lesbian!!'. I have his wonderful 'Wings on my sleeve' autographed by him at an after dinner speech some years ago.
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Old 23rd Nov 2014, 17:24
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I was sat next to him at a dinner once upon a time. Being reasonably bright, I knew enough to nudge him occasionally into conversation then shut up and listen.

He mentioned an anecdote about Hanna Reich, who I didn't realise at that time he knew.

GTE: "So you knew Hannah Reich?"

EB: "Oh yes, very well"

GTE raises eyebrows close to the ceiling

EB: "Not that well, trust me, you wouldn't want to. Brilliant pilot, dreadful woman".

G
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Old 27th Nov 2014, 23:00
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The redoutable Captain Brown was featured on the Jeremy Vine show today. It's still on the BBC Radio iplayer last thirty minutes of the show.
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Old 28th Nov 2014, 00:47
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Genghis:

If someone who knew him a little, and was a fellow Society member, were to start a No.10 petition for the K, I daresay it would get a lot of signatures.

I'm not sure if he would be pleased, or irritated by the fuss though.


MJ
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Old 28th Nov 2014, 07:55
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MJ:
Are we sure Capt. Brown has not already declined an offer of a K?

Rant warning:
Moreover, I believe the time for that was when people like him got 'em, rather than now when current games players, theatre/cinema actors and time-served politicians are knighted just for doing what they are (well-)paid for.
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Old 29th Nov 2014, 09:05
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I think I saw an interview where Captain Brown described Reitsch as "the epitome of evil".

Given that he witnessed the horrors of the death camps, he had much to compare her with.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 01:16
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He's just a pilot - lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to practice his vocation. Many fail to be that fortunate. Certainly doesn't deserve a K, nor do military brass, sports types, civil servants, celebrities or sycophantic hangers-on to contemporary culture.

Reitsch died in Frankfurt at the age of 67, on 24 August 1979, apparently after a heart attack. She had never married. That same month Eric Brown, a British test pilot who had known her before the war, was surprised to receive a letter from Reitsch in which she reminisced about their shared love of flying, the letter ending with the words; "It began in the bunker and there it shall end". Brown speculated that this may have referred to a suicide pact with von Greim, who may well have been Reitsch's lover: they had both been given cyanide pills by Hitler while in the bunker and Reitsch was known still to have hers. It is possible that she had made a pact with von Greim to follow him in committing suicide, albeit at a different time in order to dampen any rumours of their affair. Her death was announced shortly after Brown received this letter, which led him to wonder whether she had finally carried out her side of the pact and had used the suicide pill at last: apparently no post-mortem inquest was carried out on her body
A Nazi Reitsch may have been, but lesbians don't have male lovers.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 01:34
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Originally Posted by cvg2iln
He's just a pilot - lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to practice his vocation. Many fail to be that fortunate. Certainly doesn't deserve a K
Whaaaaaaat?

"Just a pilot?" A man who spends his time flying off carriers at a time when accident rates in carrier aviation were very high, fighting the enemy and shooting several down, then having the carrier sunk under him, floating around in the Atlantic among dead crewmen until being fortunate enough to be picked up, then continuing to serve his country for innumerable hours aloft, constantly exposing himself to considerable danger while exploring the very edges of the envelope, furthering the technology that helped advance the field of aviation, does NOT deserve a knighthood? Joan Collins was just knighted. Joan Collins, before EWB!

Verily you must be the biggest troll to come along in a long time. Pray tell, who does deserve a knighthood, in your opinion, if not Winkle Brown?

Last edited by semmern; 1st Jan 2015 at 12:08.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 12:11
  #33 (permalink)  

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I have the greatest respect for the flying skills of Eric and Hanna.

I didn't meet Hanna until about 1971 or 1972 when I got into a lift (OK elevator) in the Beverly Hills Hilton to go down to an SETP function and she was already in it. I must say she did not come across to me as a lesbian that evening, but I have made plenty of mistakes in this life.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 13:22
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I think it was Irma Grese (the 'Beast of Belsen') that he described as 'the epitome of evil'.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 14:40
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EB described Hanna.R to me once with the single line "Excellent pilot, dreadful woman".

I suspect we're going too far on the point away from the theme of the forum, but from the experiences of my moderately unsheltered life, I'd say that the simple distinction of "straight" versus "gay"/"lesbian" does not really work in the real world. Some people have a very straightforward binary existence in that regard, many don't.

G
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