Tag Archives: red-baron

Thumbs Up to the Red Baron-Thumbs Down to Roy Brown –National War Museum



Today I read an Ottawa Citizen article on the Lanark County Genealogical Society’s  Facebook page about the Canadian War Museum providing Major-General Sir Isaac Brock’s coat to help a Grade 8 student’s history project. This is a fantastic way to get our youth to study history, so why can’t Carleton Place’s very own war hero Roy Brown be in the Canadian War Museum too so some student can borrow one of his artifacts?

“We do not have anything on display,” said Avra Gibbs-Lamey media relations officer of the Canadian War Museum in a past newspaper article.

Now let me check some facts off: there are airports, schools and military bases named after him. We have a huge mural on Bridge Street in Carleton Place, yet no artifacts of his are displayed at the Canadian War Museum, and the staff remains mute about the whole subject. Heck, there was even a Hollywood movie made about the incident featuring Don Stroud as Roy Brown, yet Roy Brown’s name remains “an asterix” on the history books.

I am going to be honest and say I had no idea who the First World War pilot was until I moved to Carleton Place.  I write very little about him, as there seem to be endless articles and books, and very few outside the town’s limits understand the significance of what Roy did. But ask anyone who the Red Baron is, aka the German flying ace Manfred Von Richthofen, and everyone would have their hand in the air.

Brown  was the Royal Naval Air Service pilot from Carleton Place, Ontario credited with the victory that resulted in the death of the Red Baron. The Red Baron shot down 80 Allied planes, but the fact that Roy Brown shot him down is disputed all over the world. There was an American witness, but Australia claims it was machine-gun fire from their infantry on the ground that brought Manfred Von Richthofen down. Even in Carleton Place, his hometown, the controversy still hangs in the air.

Von Richthofen and Brown.jpg

At the Royal Canadian Military Institute  in Toronto lies a piece of the triplane’s wing, the actual seat the Red Baron sat in, and a cut out of the plane’s actual iron cross — signed by Brown’s flight crew on display. Roy Brown himself donated it in 1920. So why can’t people come to a conclusion?

As Rob Probert, president of the Roy Brown Society in Carleton Place said,

“As far as we are concerned, it was Roy Brown who shot Von Richthofen down, and it is him who is officially credited.”

So what he is saying is that the other claims are just that. Not proven. For some reason, Canada does not want to give Brown his proper due and he wasn’t even accepted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame until this year. So, I asked Rob Probert last week what his thoughts were:

“Many of us are at a loss as to why the  WWI story of Roy Brown and the Downing of Von Richtoffen ( The Fred Baron) are not represented in some way at all in the National War Museum. While it is not necessarily the Canadian way to boast of military events, this was a very significant battle that did have an impact on the closing out of WWI. Von Richtoffen was very much a German national hero. His downing had a demoralizing effect on their prosecution of the war.

We hope that with some time, and education, we can convince the museum to show some meaningful interest.

While there has been some questioning of the battle, it is, and has been well documented and should be recognized. Brown was officially accredited with and received appropriate honours for this feat. Medical evidence of the day and a variety of credible eyewitnesses all supported the story of Brown being the pilot who downed VonRichtoffen.

One of the goals of the Roy Brown Society is to make sure this story is not lost in time and to promote the other 14 WWI pilots from the Carleton Place area. Many of whom were Aces themselves and had incredible stories and lives post war.

We have been successful this past few years in building a national prominence and in this past year especially there have been several speeches in Parliament recognizing Brown, a wide number of accomplishments in Carleton Place itself, a number oif national newspaper stories and at least 6 radio interviews including CFRB in Toronto. We are especially proud of instigating his successful induction into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame this past June. There are three significant events planned this June and July in the Toronto area to commemorate his achievements.

We recently had an American Lt. General of the Air Force visit with us and was shocked to understand how little was known of this man and the true story of the battle. More work to be done.” –Rob Probert Roy Brown Society in Carleton Place, Ontario.




Roy Brown — Forgotten War Heroe?

Did Roy Brown Die Before He Killed the Red Baron?

Mystery Solved of Who Killed the Red Baron — Again???

Mister Carleton Place Postman Look and See— Is There a Letter in Your Bag For Me?



Mystery Solved of Who Killed the Red Baron — Again???



Lieutenant Donald Fraser, pictured here standing by the Red Baron’s grave, wrote the account of his death

An eye-witness account describing the final moments of the fearsome German flyer known as the Red Baron has emerged for sale. Could this solve once and for all the mystery over who did kill the ‘ace of aces’?  Manfred von Richthofen who was credited with a staggering 80 kills in the war, was shot down as he chased a British Sopwith Camel plane over the River Somme near Amiens in France at just 400ft from the ground.


A document, outlining the final few moments has emerged and is being auctioned by Bonhams in New York on Wednesday.

The account now for sale from Lieutenant Donald Fraser describes how von Richthofen’s plane was ‘wobbly and irregular’ immediately after the machine gun operated by Sgt Cedric Popkin opened up on him. The German plane crash landed and the pilot was found to be dead having been shot through the chest. Carleton Place’s own Captain Roy Brown was officially credited by the RAF with the coveted ‘kill’ after pursuing the German upon seeing a comrade in the Sopwith being tailed by him.

In 2002 two separate TV documentaries – one by Channel 4 in the UK and the other by the Discovery Channel – claimed Popkin and Lewis gunner Willy Evans respectively had fired the fatal shot. But Fraser’s typed account states:

“I congratulated Sergeant Popkin on his successful shoot but afterwards found out that two A.A Lewis Guns…had also fired at this plane when it was directly over my head. They probably assisted in sealing the fate of this airman as he apparently flew right into their lines of fire. However, I am strongly of opinion that he was first hit by Sergeant Popkin’s shooting as he was unsteady from the moment of that first burst of fire.”

There has been a lot of controversy as to who did indeed shoot him down and this document is a fairly strong piece of evidence to support the case of Cedric Popkin. But in the scheme of things, does it really matter who shot him down?

This impressive collection relating to the Red Baron reflects the mystique and legendary reputation acquired by the German flying ace which has endured long past his death in battle at the age of 25. Mr Lamb said that the piece of aircraft skin, that measures 34ins by 22ins, was a reciprocal gift from von Richthofen’s widow to a Colonel Kimbrough Brown who presented her with a copy of his 1964 book, ‘Von Richthofen and the Flying Circus’.

Col Brown’s family sold it to a private collector over 25 years ago and the collector is now selling it.

The items are being sold by Bonhams in New York on Wednesday.

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

Walking With Ghosts — Did Roy Brown Die Before He Killed the Red Baron? – Zoomer



Walking With Ghosts — Did Roy Brown Die Before He Killed the Red Baron? – Zoomer.