Talk:Roy Brown (RAF officer)

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Let the article be neutral and tactful.[edit]

"although it is in fact unlikely that Brown fired the bullet that caused his death."

The prominence of this line colours the impression of the article. It should be moved down to the part about the death of the Red Baron. It is also not neutral; there are those who disagree. (Reference: This line, presented in this way, makes it look like Captain Brown was trying to make a false claim.

In the fog of war and history absolute determinations are not always possible. An encyclopaedia should just lay out the facts and people will believe what they want to believe. I don't know who fired the fatal shot and it doesn't really matter. But all the people involved should be treated with respect. Captain Brown attacked the Baron's plane and it was shot down. He was given the credit. His attack drove the Baron's plane over others who also shot at him. We can note that there is some doubt over who fired the fatal bullet, without making anyone look like a cheat or a pretender. Comments like, "although it is in fact unlikely that Brown fired the bullet that caused his death" are unnecessary. Captain Brown did not boast of the things he had to do. All of the combatants should be treated with respect. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:04, 23 October 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't it be mentioned that, while (as stated in the article) officially credited with shooting down Manfred von Richthofen, it is today generally believed that von Richthofen was hit by an anti-aircraft gunner from the ground.

^ Done. --Utotri 14:37, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

Or, mention of the nickname Snoopy as mentioned in the Red Baron article itself?

Canadian/Australian bias[edit]

I was watching a show about the red Baron on the discovery channel and it gave the credit to the Australian sergeant and I noticed that the show was sponsered by the Australian Film Board or something.

I've also seen shows where they interviewed a (now dead) Australian soldier who was at the scene.. and he said two of them saw Brown shoot down the baron and how he doesn't know how the Australians could have hit him, since they were just taking pot shots at him. So all I'm saying is, I don't think this article should be leaning so much to the Australian side.—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) October 15, 2006

I remove the section that stated "

I saw the documentary also. It is based solely on the 'trajectory' of the bullet. From the lower right back towards the front left chest. That documentary assumed the angle of impact must mean that it was fired from the ground. However, consider the situation. We are talking about a "dog-fight". The Foker Tri-plane was rolling, pitching, yawing, climbing, and diving. Imagine how much manuverability that a 3 wing airplane has!! So therefore, it is possible the pursuing plane could have fired from any angle. The fatal bullet passed clean through the Red Baron and of course could never be recovered. Therefore it is impossible to conduct ballisctics tests.

While recognizing that for "propoganda reason" Capt Brown was awarded credit for the "kill", of course realistically, we could never know who fired the fatal bullet that day=claffey-27

Claffey27 please do not edit other people's posts on talk pages, as you did to the first paragraph on this page. Also, please sign & date your posts on talk pages with ~~~~.
I have brought this article more into harmony with the von Richthofen one. Soundofmusicals 10:10, 13 September 2007 (UTC)
I have reverted your edit to the article, as you removed material referenced from an article in a refereed journal, by an expert on military medicine. The real problem for those who would like to give Brown the credit is that the fatal shot (whoever fired it) caused a serious wound which would have killed Richthofen very quickly, and Brown did not fire at him within that timeframe. Consequently, no credible sources believe it was Brown. The debate/controversy in historical circles now is about which person on the ground killed Richthofen. Grant | Talk 04:21, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

I DID NOT STATE THAT BROWN FIRED THE FATAL SHOT! Please re-read my earlier comments. What I said was that it is unknown who fired the fatal shot. Since the bullet was never recovered, ballistics test can never be done and we will never know. What I removed was a false fact. Anyone from anysource who states they know "definitely" who fired the fatal shot is expressing opinion. Even PBS has opinions! Since that section is opinion and non-verifiable fact, that section is being removed. If you have trouble understanding,please take a remedial English course.-claffey27

I am not accusing you of portraying Brown as firing the fatal shot. What I am pointing out out to you is that Brown could not have done it because of the known sequence of events, according to expert medical opinion. In other words Richthofen would not have lived as long as he did had Brown hit him.
And once again, please do not delete referenced material from articles. Grant | Talk 01:19, 16 July 2007 (UTC)
I have changed this article to harmonise better with the von Richthofen article. My attempts to insert proper referencing seem to have malfunctioned - in case someone can help? Soundofmusicals 10:13, 13 September 2007 (UTC)

i have to preface these remarks with a disclaimer: i grew up 7 miles north of carleton place, ontario. BUT, the article does seem to have a stongly pro-australian pov. i read the australian article in the external link. the autopsy,on which great empahsis is placed, was a) conducted by australian physicians, and b) was so primitive by contemporary standards, as to have been non-existent. all they did was look at him. the body was not opened. ALL of their conclusions were based solely on what they saw as the angles of a single entrance and exit don't have to be an afficionado of csi (i've never seen it), to realize that that is grossly inadequate. they can't possibly have known what that bullet did inside. it might have missed everything vital (it happens)(and even penetrating injury to the heart doesn't always result in instantaneous death) and he might have bled internally and developed a hemopneumothorax, or cardiac tamponade until he lost consciousness, or died.the von richtofen article cites some source as saying that the fatal shot was a .303 rifle round. how the hell does anybody know? no projectile was recovered.moreover,'expert medical opinion'? these guys were military surgeons,(and 1918 miltary surgeons) not forensic pathologists. they wouldn't be accepted as expert witnesses in any first world court today. as to the rationale that his behaviour was a result of a previous head injury, pppffffft. that is SUCH nebulous surmise as to have no place in the discussion. bear in mind, i'm not saying that arthur roy brown shot down the red baron.i think the bottom line on my argumeent is that it is not possible to know, with the degree of certainty that the article seems to have, who killed manfred albrecht, hauptmann freiherr von richtofen.but,consider the analogy of instant replay. the call on the ice stands without incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. greater note needs to be made of the fact that the issue remains controversial.Toyokuni3 (talk) 06:35, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

It is most unlikely that Brown shot down the Red Baron - and ALL the reputable sources of the last thirty years or so make this clear. The online reference is far from being the best source anyway - try and get some of the others from your local library. The bullet WAS retrieved incidentally! This is all the article can say - what real uncertainty that remains gets plenty of air, considering. I think everyone agrees it would be more romantic to have one famous ace shot down by another - but unlike a boy's own magazine or a wartime propaganda account we have to go for likely fact, not what makes the best tale. Saving May was every bit as fine a feat anyway, when all's said and done. A more callous man than Brown may well have been able to stalk and surprise the Baron while he was engrossed with shooting May down, but that, to his credit, was not Brown's way - he was more concerned with saving his friend than killing his enemy. Soundofmusicals (talk) 11:34, 19 April 2008 (UTC)

So where did the account from Wop May's diary go? There was a record from someone actually there and it has been deleted? That seems really amazing to have been removed. (unsigned)

I think the passage you are thinking of is (and was) part of the Wop May article. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:48, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

This one is still not dead apparently. All that is "unknown" is which machine gunner (or rifleman!) actually hit the Baron. Brown couldn't have, because he was firing at Richthofen a couple a minutes too early (no one wounded as Richthofen was could have survived more than a second or two). In fact some people really determined to credit Brown have postulated a second attack - unfortunately Brown failed to mention this supposed second attack, and there is no evidence for it whatsoever. It's really as simple as that. Forget "Australia vs Canada" or "Navy vs Army" (209 at the time were still wore naval uniforms - and in spirit were still very much RNAS rather than RAF) - this is an encyclopedia and we have to present the facts. Ground fire, by this stage of the war, was very dangerous indeed to low flying aircraft that were moving (in modern terms) very slowly. The art of "leading" a moving target (well known to duck hunters and others for many years anyway) was well developed in this context. Those ground gunners were not just blazing away, they knew exactly what they were doing. The wonder is not that they shot R. down while he was chasing May, but that he lasted as long as he did. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 22:07, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:ArthurRoyBrown.jpg[edit]

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BetacommandBot (talk) 08:13, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

Brown's opinions[edit]


I recall reading that Brown steadfastly refused to comment on the death of the Red Baron, only citing group effort when pressed. Does someone (who, unlike me, knows what he is talking about,) have any way of developing whether Brown felt he was unfairly credited with the kill?

I mean, he must have told some close friend or relation what he thought about the matter. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:11, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

There are at least three possibilities.
  • 1 Brown DID believe he had shot down the Baron, but was modest and even slightly remorseful about the act (von R. was greatly respected and admired, even by his enemies) - and never felt inclined to crow about it. This fits Brown's character so far as we can know it - he seems to have been a thoroughly admirable person.
  • 2 Brown did NOT believe that he had shot down the Baron (there is evidence he did not claim the kill in his first combat report!) - but was under orders from his superiors not to divulge this fact. This would explain why he was evasive, rather than coming out definitely either way. An order "not to talk" is regarded by many service officers as binding for life. Again - this integrity and loyalty fits well with what we know of Browmn's character.
  • 3 Brown was unsure as to whether his attack (a brief and fairly wild one - mainly intended to rescue May rather than shoot down his attacker) had anything to do with the Baron's death - and was diffident about seeming boastful.
He may well have confided matters to someone he was close to - but if so they seem to have respected his confidence, as there is no record of anything of the kind.
Personally I tend towards explanation #3 but all this is (alas) speculation - all a serious historical account can do is sift the actual existing evidence. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 03:24, 19 August 2008 (UTC)

The Red Baron controversy[edit]

Hello, all,

I submit the following in hopes of dousing the raging flame war that is taking place in Edit summaries of this article.

Roy Brown did fire upon the Red Baron, and so stated in his combat report. However, his original report did not claim a victory. Nevertheless, Brown was credited by the Royal Air Force with a victory over Manfred von Richthofen. One is reminded of the similarly controversial award by the German high command crediting Lothar von Richthofen with shooting down Albert Ball.

When questioned on the subject, Brown's response was "There is no point in me commenting, as the evidence is already out there". This is the response of an honorable man unwillingly placed in the midst of a controversial situation not of his own making.

Leaving the Red Baron controversy aside, Roy Brown is unquestionably a hero. A man with the moxie to twice win the Distinguished Service Order is obviously courageous.

The physical evidence of the Baron's death supports his death from ground fire. However, this is an after-the-fact determination; the immediate determination of the RAF was to award Brown the victory.

In short, there is no reason for this nationalistic flame warring because both sides are correct. That means there is no need for incivility and non-neutral points of view in the Edit summaries, both of which are offenses against the Wikipedia community at large.

Georgejdorner (talk) 22:46, 19 February 2012 (UTC)


Victor in aerial combat over Baron Manfred von Richthofen, the First World War's leading fighter pilot and German national hero. Arthur Roy Brown was born at Carleton Place. In 1915 he qualified as a civilian pilot and was commissioned in the Royal Naval Air Service. In the thick of vicious air fighting in 1917-18 Brown is credited with at least 12 enemy planes earning the Distinguished Service Cross and Bar. Though the Canadian's downing of Richthofen was contested by Australian ground gunners, the official award was given to Captain Brown. Overcoming severe war injuries, he returned to civilian life and later organized an air transport company which served Northern Ontario and Quebec.

This does NOT belong in this article - since the very first sentence is simply not true. It is absolutely impossible that Brown shot Richtofen - as R was hit by by a bullet that must have caused virtually instant death - (both lungs and the heart were pierced by a tumbling .303" bullet - causing massive trauma - it would be difficult to imagine a more comprehensive "instant death" wound). But R. continued to fly with great skill - chasing May at very low altituse, for about two minutes after Brown fired at him. The implication is one about which there can not possibly be any doubt whatever - although controversy remains, there is in retrospect, and in full possession of the facts, no way that Brown could possibly have been "the victor in aerial combat over R.". Which "Australian Ground Gunner" hit him is pure surmise, of course, although this has not stopped various contradictory theories being raised over the last ninety three years.
The fact that the R.A.F. credited Brown with the kill is not disputed. It is (for what it is worth) one of the first things we say in the lead - and it is also mentioned at least once in the main text. But this is really pretty meaningless. The crediting of victories in aerial combat is a most inexact science. Mistakes are often made in crediting air victories - in fact it is by no means unknown for victories to be "awarded" when an aircraft has not even been shot down. In this case Brown shot at an aircraft, and it fell, with the pilot mortally wounded. Given that the officers who credited Brown with the victory had other things to do - and that so many Australians had shot at R. that the chances of sorting out which of them might have hit him would have taken someone the rest of the war (I mean we haven't sorted it out in more than ninety years!!!) - crediting Brown with the victory allowed his seniors to get on with winning the war. It also made a more "romantic" story - although shooting down a low flying 1918 vintage aircraft with a maximum speed a little over a hundred miles an hour was actually quite easy if you knew what you were doing, and many pilots were shot down by groundfire at this stage of the war, it was a bit of an anti-climax for someone like R. to be killed this way.
Finally - the full text of the plaque is simply not a useful part of the article. One can very well imagine someone reading the text of the plaque wondering what on earth we have been talking about, and going away with the impression that we do in fact credit Brown with the victory, or at least that the plaque presents a feasible version of the facts. But the plaque is (as I said in my original edit summary) contra-factual. Even if it presented the facts as they are it would not be awfully notable - as it is it is irrelevant - mentioning its existence is plenty. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 06:43, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Revisiting this (in spite of promise I wouldn't) - the last sentence of the text of the plaque is also wrong - Brown's postwar career (see article) did not include the organisation of an "air transport company which served Northern Ontario and Quebec". This apparently stems from confusion between Brown and "Wop" May??? --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:12, 7 June 2012 (UTC)

No he didn't![edit]

Sorry - but with what is now known about the Red Baron's death (see above!!, also his own article) it is far from POV to hint that it is unlikely that a bullet from Brown's guns is what hit Richthofen - in fact this is if anything too kind. It was far from unreasonable of the RAF to credit him at the time, but only hopeless romanticism can still imagine that they were, in retrospect, correct. --Soundofmusicals (talk) 23:26, 5 January 2015 (UTC)

at the artícle Canadian Aviation. Better Canadian Aviation Magazine?[edit]

or Canadian Aviation / Canadian Aviation (magazine)

--PLA y Grande Covián (talk) 05:36, 16 July 2015 (UTC)