Brown, Mark Henry "Hilly"

    Date of birth:
    October 9th, 1911 (Portage la Prairie/Manitoba, Canada)
    Date of death:
    November 12th, 1941 (Gela Airfield, Sicily)
    Buried on:
    Commonwealth War Cemetery Catania
    Plot: III. Row: G. Grave: 24.
    Service number:
    37904
    Nationality:
    Canadian (1931-present, Constitutional Monarchy)

    Biography

    Hilly Brown learned to fly at the Brandon Flying Club in his spare time as an employee of the Bank of Montreal. Later he worked for the bank in Russell and at several Saskatchewan points. He left Saskatoon, passed his physical for the RAF at Regina and sailed to the UK in May 1936 to join the RAF. On completion of training he joined no. 1 Squadron in February 1937. He accompanied the squadron to France on the outbreak of war, and was involved in some of the early engagements over the border between France and Germany. During the heavy fighting of May 1940 he was able to make many claims, and was appointed acting Flight Commander on 23th May. After the evacuationf from Dunkirk, he was shot down off Harwich on the 15th August 1940 and picked up with slight injuries by a trawler.
    In May 1941 he was rested with No. 58 OTU initially, but moved on to No. 57 OTU.
    He was posted out to the Middel East in October, arriving on the 5th of November. On the 12th of November he and Wing Commander Rabagliati led a sweep bij four Hurricane to strafe Gela Airfield on Sicily, but as the swept in, arfield anti-aircraft fire hit Brown's Hurricane, and i crashed at once. The Italians dropped a message on Malta to inform that Brown had been burried with full military honours.
    His victory list was 15 enemy aircraft destroyed and 4 shared.

    Promotions:
    February 1937: Pilot Officer
    December 1938: Flying Officer
    September 3th, 1940: Flight Lieutenant
    November 1940: Squadron Leader
    July 1941: Wing Commander

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    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Flight Lieutenant
    Awarded on:
    July 30th, 1940
    Action:
    Recommendation:
    "Since the beginning of the war Flight Lieutenant Brown has destroyed at least sixteen enemy aircraft. On 14th June, when leading his flight on patrol, he encountered nine enemy bombers, two of which were destroyed. Later he attacked nine Messerschmitt 109s, destroying one and driving the remainder off. As a result of bullets entering his aircraft he force landed near Caen, and was unable to rejoin the squadron before it withdrew from France. Flight Lieutenant Brown has shown courage of the highest order, and has led many flights with great success and determination when consistently outnumbered by enemy aircraft."
    Details:
    AFRO 1292/41 dated 7 November 1941


    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Squadron Leader
    Unit:
    No. 1 Squadron, Royal Air Force
    Awarded on:
    May 23rd, 1941
    Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC)
    Action:
    Recommendation:
    "This officer has commanded his squadron with outstanding success since November 1940. His dauntless spirit and outstanding qualities of leadership have maintained his squadron at a high standard of efficiency. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in August 1940 for his outstanding work in France where he destroyed at least 16 enemy aircraft. Since then he has accounted for at least two more enemy aircraft. During August 1940 he was shot down into the sea and suffered severe burns to his face, but in spite of this he resumed flying in ten days, having refused to take sick leave. Squadron Leader Brown has set an inspired example of devotion to duty and determination to destroy the enemy and I strongly recommend that on handing over command he should be awarded the Bar to the Distinguished Flying Cross in recognition of his distinguished services whilst serving with this squadron."
    Details:
    Second DFC awarded as a bar for on the ribbon of the first DFC.
    Period:
    Second World War (1939-1945)
    Rank:
    Acting Squadron Leader
    Awarded on:
    January 12th, 1943
    Action:
    "This officer has up to the present shot down 17 enemy aircraft. As the leader of a British fighter wing, to which 11 Czechoslovak airmen have been attached, he has shown particular interest in, and effective understanding of, our Czechoslovak cause. He has displayed great devotion in directing the training of the Czechoslovak pilots and has personally led them into action, particularly in engagements in northern France in which they achieved exceptional success."
    Ceskoslovenský válecný kríž 1939

    Sources

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