Topic: Brown, Francis D. C.

Topic type:

Hurtling down unconscious for almost four miles, with lightening playing around him in one of the worst monsoon storms ever experienced on the Burma Front, a 21-year-old RAF pilot. Warrant Officer Francis, D. C. (Colin) Brown, of Coalgate, Canterbury, New Zealand, has probably achieved a record "delayed-drop" parachute descent.

From a newspaper in Calcutta: (July 1943) The story was also widely reported in British Newspapers.


Hurtling down unconscious for almost four miles, with lightening playing around him in one of the worst monsoon storms ever experienced on the Burma Front, a 21-year-old RAF pilot, Warrant Officer Francis, D. C. (Colin) Brown, of Coalgate, Canterbury, New Zealand, has probably achieved a record "delayed-drop" parachute descent.

Only his great presence of mind, acquired by training, saved him. As he rapidly began to "come round" at 3,000ft, he grasped, still half dazed, the rip-cord, opened his parachute, and landed safely. He dropped 20,000ft before his parachute opened. W/0 Brown nearly landed in the sea, but managed to float down on to a small islet. Flying in thick cloud over Bengal, his aircraft had developed an uncontrollable spin, which stunned and partially blinded him. Bengalis on the islet on which he landed gave him coconut milk, hot tea and goat's milk as "revivers", tended him until he could be taken on a 20 hours' journey by bullock cart and sampan to hospital, where he spent a fortnight recovering from his injuries, which included burst bloodvessels behind his eyes.

W.O. Brown told an Army Public Relations Officer the account of his remarkable escape. "I flew for 20 minutes in what seemed to be a sheer wall of cloud, and got into the heart of a violent storm with lightening playing all around", he said. "Conditions were very bumpy, and the engine began to ice up. Suddenly the aircraft got into a spin and though I applied correction it became worse. Thrown forward on to the controls I hit my head, felt a terrific pressure behind my eyes and lost consciousness. The next thing I knew when I regained consciousness was that I was falling over and over, through thick cloud-seemingly quite slowly but really at a fast speed. I must have been unconscious for almost a minute. Just then my descent took me out of the cloud, and I saw the ground below just in time though still in a daze, to open my parachute. I groped agonizingly for the rip-cord, and as the speed of drop diminished, I floated down. The aircraft itself was damaged, and I saw pieces of it floating down alongside me when I was dropping rapidly before opening my parachute which slowed me up." The first thing he did upon rejoining his squadron was to thank the parachute packer. "I made my parachute landing just as laid down in the book! -Mssed a clump of palm trees by 20ft and landed in soft earth."

W.O. Brown attended Christchurch Technical School, and later took up sheep farming before joining the RAF in 1940. Warrant Officer F.D.C. Brown is the eldest son of Mr and Mrs D. Brown of Whitecliffs. He left New Zealand with the RNZAF in May 1941 at the age of nineteen. Colin, who still resides Coalgate is currently writing personal account of his war experiences.

Malvern News 22 April 2005

 

Discuss This Topic

There are 0 comments in this discussion.

join this discussion

Tags

Brown, Francis D. C.


First Names:Francis D. Colin
Last Name:Brown
User Name:Selwyn Library