Intelligent but shy, Arthur Roy Brown loved to fly. After receiving an aviator's certificate on a Wright biplane at the Wright school, Dayton, Ohio on 13 November 1915, he joined the Royal Naval Air Service. He was almost killed when he crashed an Avro 504 during a training flight on 2 May 1916. He eventually recovered and was posted to 9 Naval Squadron on the Western Front in April 1917. Reassigned to 11 Naval Squadron, he scored his first victory on 17 July 1917, shooting down an Albatros D.III while flying a Sopwith Pup. In the fall, he rejoined 9 Naval Squadron to fly Sopwith Camels, becoming a flight commander in February 1918. In what would become the most famous aerial combat of the war, Brown's flight encountered Jasta 11 on the morning of 21 April 1918. In the battle that followed, Brown scored his final victory of the war. Engaging a red Fokker DR.I he was officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen. For this action, Brown received a bar to his Distinguished Service Cross. On 1 August 1919, Brown was transferred to the unemployed list and returned to Canada where he worked as an accountant, founded a small airline and became an editor for "Canadian Aviation" magazine. During World War II, Brown entered politics after his application to join the Royal Canadian Air Force was rejected. The year before he died, he ran for Parliament but was defeated.
"The postwar period is more serious than winning the war. We who served in the last war know what it is to get kicked out of the service and then wonder where to turn and
where to go to make a living. I got back into civilian life last tine with 27 fractures and was a nervous wreck. I got no pension. That kind of thing must never happen again." Roy Brown, Liberal candidate for Parliament, 1943
The Lethbridge Herald, Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, 10 March 1944, page 1
Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators' Certificates, 1910-1950
Combat Report - Victory #10
At 10:35 a.m. I observed two Albatross burst into flames and crash.
Dived on large formation of 15 - 20 Albatross Scouts[,] D 5's and Fokker triplanes, two of which got on my tail and I came out. Went back again and dived on pure red triplane which was firing on Lieut. May. I got a long burst into him and he went down vertical and was observed to crash by Lieut. Mellersh and Lieut[.] May. I fired on two more but did not get them." - Brown's second combat report, 21 April 1918
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
Act. Flt.-Lieut; (now Flt.-Lieut.) Arthur Roy Brown, R.N.A.S.
For the excellent work he has done on active service.
On the 3rd September, 1917, he attacked a two-seater Aviatik, in company with his flight. The enemy machine was seen to dive down vertically, the enemy observer falling over on the side of the fuselage shot.
On the 5th September, 1917, in company with formation, he attacked an Albatross scout and two-seater, driving them away from our lines. One machine was observed to go down apparently out of control.
On the 15th September, 1917, whilst on patrol, he dived on two Aviatiks and three Albatross scouts, followed by his flight. He dived several times and picked out one enemy scout, firing about 200 rounds, when the enemy machine went down out of control, spinning on its back.
On the 20th September, 1917, whilst leading his flight, he dived on five Albatross scouts. Flt.-Lieut. Brown picked out one enemy machine and opened fire. One of his guns jambed, but he carried on with the other. The enemy machine went down out of control and over on its back, and remained in that position for about thirty seconds, whilst Flt.-Lieut. Brown continued firing until his other gun jambed. The enemy machine then disappeared in the clouds, still on its back.
Another officer of the same patrol was later followed by four enemy machines, as he was separated from the formation. Both Flt.-Lieut. Brown's guns were jambed, but he dived on the enemy machines and drove them off, thus undoubtedly saving the pilot's life.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 2 November 1917 (30363/11321)
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Bar
Lieut. (Hon. Capt.) Arthur Roy Brown, D.S.C., R.A.F.
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. On 21 April 1918, while leading a patrol of six scouts he attacked a formation of twenty hostile scouts. He personally engaged two Fokker triplanes, which he drove off; then, seeing that one of our machines was being attacked and apparently hard pressed, he dived on the hostile scout, firing the while. This scout, a Fokker triplane, nose dived and crashed to the ground. Since the award of the Distinguished Service Cross, he has destroyed several other enemy aircraft and has shown great dash and enterprise in attacking enemy troops from low altitudes despite heavy anti-aircraft fire.
Supplement to the London Gazette, 21 June 1918 (30756/7304)