31-Jan-2017 Source: Royal Navy
Medals awarded to the Royal Navy’s most decorated pilot, Captain Eric Brown are to be displayed at the Fleet Air Arm Museum from 21 January 2017 in a fitting tribute on his 98th birthday.
The war hero, born in the Leith area of Edinburgh in 1919, died earlier last year at the age of 97.
He was renowned for flying 487 different types of aircraft – a world record that is unlikely to be matched and is in the Guinness Book of World Records.
The items, including his Distinguished Service Cross and CBE, were bought by The National Museum of the Royal Navy.
They were secured, for an undisclosed sum, by The Fleet Air Arm Museum – representing the flying arm of the Royal Navy at Royal Naval Air Station Yeovilton, Somerset.
The collection also features Capt Brown’s Air Force Cross, awarded in 1947, and the Defence Medal with King’s Commendation for Brave Conduct, along with his flying logbooks, which date from 1942, to his final flights for the Fleet Air Arm in 1970,
Alongside his medals his log book and amongst many entries made in it there are two that identify aircraft currently held in the museum is the Grumman Martlet 1 AL246 and the most significant the Vampire LZ551/G in which Captain Brown achieved the first jet powered deck landing in December 1945!
He flew 2,407 aircraft landings in total a record never to be broken.
During World War Two, Capt Brown flew fighter aircraft and had the most aircraft carrier landings, with 2,407 – including the first in a jet-propelled aircraft.
He also achieved the most catapult launches with 2,721 and carried out some of the world’s first helicopter tests.
In the course of his aviation career, he survived 11 plane crashes.
He also witnessed the liberation of the Bergen Belsen concentration camp and later became good friends with the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong.
A spokesman for the museum said: “We are delighted to have been able to secure the medals and log books of Captain Eric Brown following the intervention of a generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous.
“It is fair to say that Capt Brown was by many measures the Fleet Air Arm’s most significant pilot of the post-war period and we are thrilled and honoured to be able to class this collection as one of our own.
“We can now preserve the record of innovation which is contained within Capt Brown’s log books which includes previously untapped information and display them for the world to see.”