Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

The Centre was saddened to hear the news that wartime Fleet Air Arm pilot and later RN Chief Test Pilot Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown died  on the 21st February 2016

Captain Eric ‘Winkle’ Brown CBE DSC AFC

Sub Lt. Brown, in the cockpit of a Wildcat aboard HMS Audacity 1941

Eric had a distinguished career in war and in peacetime as a naval pilot, and made a superb recording for the Centre in 2007 in which he related his wartime experiences. He survived the sinking of his first operational posting on HMS Audacity in 1941, going on to become a ‘trials pilot’ testing new aircraft types at the Services Trials Unit, and later at Farnborough in the Aerodynamics Flight, High Speed Flight, and Jet Flight.

As the war ended he was sent to Germany as head of the Enemy Aircraft Flight tasked to find German advanced aircraft and technicians. On arrival at Fassberg, near Hanover he found German jet aircraft which he described as ‘.. very advanced. I would put them at a year to a year and a half ahead of us’.

Eric’s command of the German language was also used by the Allies at the end of the war in the interrogation of Belsen Concentration camp commanders Josef Kramer and Irma Grese, and following the capture of Heinrich Himmler.

Our condolences go to his family and friends.