BROWN, Mark Henry Flight Lieutenant, No.1 Squadron, 37904 Distinguished Flying Cross - Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross RAF WWII
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BROWN, F/L Mark Henry (37904) - Distinguished Flying Cross - No.1 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette 30 July 1940 - See H.A. Halliday, "The Amazing 'Hilly' Brown, Journal of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Summer 1971 and Michel Lavigne, Canadian Wing Commanders. Born in Portage la Prairie, 9 October 1911; RAF, 11 May 1936; No.1 Squadron, 13 October 1938 to 17 May 1941; to Mediterranean, 21 October 1941; killed in action over Sicily, 12 November 1941. Specifically listed in AFRO 1292/41 dated 7 November 1941 as a Canadian in the RAF who had been decorated as of that date. Air Ministry Bulletin 3890 refers. No published citation. Public Records Office Air 2/6085 (Non-Immediate Awards, 1940-1941) has 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. // Air 2/8885 has the original recommendation dated 27 June 1940 submitted by Commanding Officer, No.1 Squadron: // This officer has been with the squadron since the beginning of the war in September 1939, and remained with it after the first German onslaught. He has accounted for at least sixteen German aircraft, and he has led many flights against consistently greater numbers of enemy aircraft with great success and determination. On June 14th he led hid Flight on patrol from Nantes to Evereux, and encountered nine enemy bombers, which he attacked and two of which his flight destroyed. During the attack he saw nine ME.109s which were about to attack the remainder of his flight and he attacked these himself, destroying one and driving the remainder off. During the attack he received bullets in his own aircraft that forced him to land near Caen, and he was unable to rejoin the Squadron again before it left France. // At uncertain date the Officer Commanding No.67 Wing added his remarks. // Flying Officer Brown was one of the few pilots of No.1 Squadron not relieved soon after the German break through Belgium. He has short down about 16 enemy aircraft and displayed courage of the highest order in his encounter with the enemy on the 14th June. Flying Officer Brown is specially recommended for the DFC. // Air 2/8065 also has the formula for computing Advanced Air Striking Force awards for June 1940. The force had logged 2,775 hours; the operative divisor was 150. This gave a figure of 18 allowable awards, but as thirteen had already been granted (immediate awards), only five additional awards were deemed feasible. Nevertheless, authorities were advancing the names of 14 flying nominees (eleven DFCs and three DFMs) plus five periodic awards (one MC, one EGM and three MMs). // BROWN, S/L Mark Henry (37904) - Bar to Distinguished Flying Cross - No.1 Squadron - awarded as per London Gazette 23 May 1941. // This officer has commanded the squadron with outstanding success. He has destroyed a further two enemy aircraft bringing his total victories to at least 18. His splendid leadership and dauntless spirit have been largely instrumental in maintaining a high standard of efficiency throughout the squadron. // NOTE: Public Record Office Air 2/8752 has the original recommendation, prepared by the Officer Commanding, Station Kenley, on 18 April 1941: // 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. // BROWN, W/C Mark Henry (37904) - Czech Military Cross - awarded as per London Gazette 12 January 1943. Public Record Office Air 2/6123 has correspondence relating to this award. Its genesis was in a letter dated 13 May 1941 from J. Sejnoha, Chief of Protocol, Czechoslovak Republic Chancellery, to Robert Dunbar of the Foreign Office. This expressed the Czech wish to bestow the award and provided a detailed citation: // 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. // Internally the RAF grumbled that the Czech award appeared to be a duplicate of his Bar to DFC. At the same time, the Czechs had bestowed 22 awards on British personnel as opposed to six British awards to Czech personnel. Nevertheless, an official wrote, “While it is undesirable to increase the debt, it seems hardly possible to refuse the offer.” British approval was according communicated to the Czechs on 3 June 1941. // NOTE: It is difficult to reconcile records with the figure of 18 mentioned in the citation to the Bar to his DFC. Chris Shores, in the second edition to Aces High, gives a detailed breakdown which comes close (15 destroyed, four shared destroyed, one probable and two damaged). Even so, Shores points out that many victories were poorly documented; six destroyed and the one "probable" came from a reconstruction of No.1 Squadron's claims upon their return to England from France, and were unsupported by either a contemporary diary or combat reports; another, claimed as "destroyed" in the reconstructed list, was covered by a surviving combat report which suggested that "probably destroyed" would have been a more realistic assessment. In more normal circumstances an Intelligence Officer would doubtless have reduced the claims to "probable" or "damaged" status many of No.1 Squadron's claims. For the record, Shores lists the following claims: 23 November 1939, one Do.17 destroyed (flying Hurricane L1971; shared with another pilot); 3 March 1940, one He.111 destroyed (Hurricane L1843, shared with another pilot); 20 April 1940, one Bf.109 destroyed (Hurricane P2678); 10 May 1940, one Do.17 destroyed (shared with four other pilots); 11 May 1940, two Bf.109s destroyed; 14 May 1940, one Bf.109 and one Ju.87 destroyed (no documentation); 15 May 1940, one Bf.110 destroyed (no documentation); 17 May 1940, one Bf.110 destroyed plus one He.111 destroyed (no documentation for the He.111 and possibly not for the Bf.110 either); 18 May 1940, one Hs.126 destroyed (surviving combat report suggests a "probable"; 19 May 1940, one He.111 destroyed and one probably destroyed (no documentation for either); 21 May 1940, one He.111 destroyed; 1 June 1940, one Bf.109 damaged; 5 June 1940, one Do.17 destroyed; 14 June 1940, one He.111 destroyed and one Bf.109 destroyed (no documentation for either); 11 August 1940, one Bf.110 destroyed (Hurricane P3047); 6 September 1940, one Ju.88 damaged (Hurricane L1934); 24 September 1940, one Do.17 destroyed (Hurricane V7379, shared with three other pilots).