Did Roy Brown Die Before He Killed the Red Baron?


Arthur Roy Brown was born on December 23,1893 in Carleton Place, Ontario. He was the son of a flour mill and power company owner and was fascinated by aerial war and enlisted in 1915 as an Officer Cadet in the Canadian Army Officers’ Training Corps. Brown wanted to join the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) but his father, concerned at the high casualty rate for RFC pilots, declined Brown’s request for elementary flying school lessons.

Of course he ignored the advice of his father and applied to join the RNAS with his three of his friends. He learned he needed an Aero Certificate so he took lessons from the Wright Brothers school in Dayton, Ohio. In 1915 he obtained his pilots certificate and became a Temporary Probationary Flight Sub-Lieutenant.  Brown set sail for England on 22 November 1915 and underwent further training at Chingford.

On the 17th of July 1917 while flying a Sopwith Pup on patrol, he brought down a German Albatross DIII south-east of Nieuport. It did not end there and as he led his squadron on the early morning patrol history was made.Wilfred “Wop” May, a good friend of his, was flying his first combat mission. Brown told May to break formation and head for the airfield if they sighted any enemy planes. Shortly after takeoff, Brown’s squadron encountered a multicoloured flight of German planes. May broke formation and headed for home as he had been instructed to do.

At that moment, a bright red Fokker triplane broke through the wispy clouds and moved into an attack position behind May. Captain Brown rushed to help May and fired a full burst at the German. As the bullets riddled the length of the Fokker, the surprised pilot turned to look back and then slumped in his seat.

The red plane glided along and roughly settled in a field next to some Australian trenches. Manfred von Richthofen, the legendary “Red Baron”, was dead by the time the Australian soldiers reached the aircraft. They later claimed they had brought down von Richthofen, the highest scoring German ace, with fire from their trenches, but he had been too far away from their lines when he was mortally wounded. The Red Baron was hit by a single .303 bullet, which caused such severe damage to his heart and lungs and Richthofen’s last word was “kaputt”.

 Even though Roy Brown’s downing of Richthofen was contested by Australian ground gunners, the official award was given to him.  Brown himself never spoke much about what happened that day, claiming, “There is no point in me commenting, as the evidence is already out there”. Overcoming severe war injuries, he returned to civilian life and later organized an air transport company which served Northern Ontario and Quebec.

According to the records at the Beckwith and Carleton Place Heritage Museum Roy Brown was “fatally” injured after crashing his plane during the war. He was placed in the morgue and pronounced dead. Stearne Tighe Edwards, close friend and fellow airman from Carleton Place went to identify the body. He noticed that blood was still seeping from Brown’s wounds and he appeared to be still breathing. Edwards notified doctors, who immediately removed Brown from the morgue!

Was there a force beyond the description and not confined by existence or reality that revived Roy Brown?


“I had heard that Stearne Tighe Edwards was unable to get the military doctors to take a second look at Roy and he had to go down the road and get a local doctor to come back and only after this doctor saw signs of life did the military doctor move Roy from the morgue.”

Maybe someone from the Roy Brown Society can confirm the details–Shane Wm. Edwards

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

2 responses »

  1. This story is noted in the well researched book by the late Larry Gray, “We are the Dead”, Gen’l Store Publishing, 2000. Stearne Edwards was a life-long friend of Brown. They also signed up together. He had ‘achieved’ 17 downed planes or “kills”, the most of any CP pilot. At the unveiling of his memorial plaque at St. James Anglican church, Brown did the honours of the unveiling. However, Brown was unable to complete the ceremony as he was overcome with emotion.


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