Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Free Fall Parachuting

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,789
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

    Default Free Fall Parachuting

    Hi All

    Can anyone confirm whether Sergeant Francis David Collin Brown of 131 Squadron survived a long fall without a parachute possibly in India?

    All the best

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    1,929
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Malcolm,

    The event is described at length in his 2006 privately published autobiography 'Free Fall Over India'. His aircraft broke up in a thunderstorm at 23,000.

    NZ404330 Wt Off F D C Brown was serving with No.681 Sqn at the time (8 Jun 43).* The accident took place over Fulbachiga, according to RAF Form 551 detail recorded in the book - 'Thrown out of "Spitfire" aircraft falling out of control. Unconscious at time of being thrown out of aircraft, but regained consciousness at approx 3000ft fromn ground, pulled ripcord and landed safely.'

    Brown suffered 'intense conjunctival haemorrhage of both eyes and bruises to various places ovedr the body.'

    His log book records this final sortie (he never flew again) as 'P.R. Lashio Loiwing Mandalay' in Spitfire 'K'.

    * Brown had served with 131 Sqn earlier, but in Dec 42 was posted to 3 PRU, which became 681 Sqn in Jan 43.

    Errol

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    6,401
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 32 Times in 31 Posts

    Default

    Hello,

    Spitfire PR.IV AB318 - Pilot thrown out of aircraft in turbulence, Talliagi-Cha, Burma 8-6-1943.

    http://spitfires.ukf.net/p018.htm

    and...

    http://www.warbirds.in/Crashes/crdetails.php?crno=RAF0159

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 22nd February 2010 at 02:45.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,789
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

    Default

    Many thanks Errol

    Malcolm

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    England
    Posts
    667
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    Hi Malcolm, he was involved in a crash landing in Shropshire earlier in the war and i have the following in my notes:

    http://www.nzetc.org/tm/scholarly/tei-WH2-3RAF-c13.html

    Photographic reconnaissance was now required over a wide area— from Akyab in the west over the whole of Burma, and far beyond to Thailand and the China coast. To meet this need valiant efforts were being made by No. 681 Squadron, which was equipped with Hurricanes and Spitfires and a few twin-engined Mitchells for long-range work. Flying Officer C. B. Wareham, who had already done good work over Malaya, Flying Officer O'Brien1 and Warrant Officers F. D. C. Brown2 and Carpenter3 were pilots with this unit and Flying Officer Cummins4 navigated Mitchells.

    The squadron was based at Alipore, near Calcutta. When an operation was ordered, pilots would usually be briefed the night before and then would take off shortly after dawn for one of the forward landing grounds; there they would ‘top up’ with petrol before setting out to the assigned target, flying usually between 20,000 and 25,000 feet. The single-engined Hurricanes and Spitfires were without radio aids and their pilots had to rely mainly on map reading for navigation. Most sorties involved a double crossing of the Chin Hills and the mountains along the border between India and Burma; these went up to 12,000 or 14,000 feet, and in the monsoon period when storms raged and thick clouds covered the peaks the photographic pilots faced many hazards.

    Such conditions were met by Warrant Officer Brown one day in June 1943 when he was returning from his twenty-third mission. Over the Arakan Mountains, when he was already flying at 23,000 feet, he was faced with a wall of cloud stretching across the horizon as far as he could see and rising another 20,000 feet above him. If he went down below it there was the strong possibility that he would strike the mountains, and he had not sufficient fuel to attempt to fly round or over it. So he decided to plunge through it. What happened next is best told in his own words:

    For twenty minutes I was on instruments with flying conditions becoming rougher and rougher with the engine continually icing up and losing power, which could only be overcome by vigorous pumping on the throttle. The aircraft then struck a series of terrific bumps which sent the instruments haywire. I could see my Artificial Horizon up in the top corner of the dial, while the Turn and Bank Indicator appeared, as far as I could see, to be showing conditions of a spin. Deciding then that I must be in a spin I applied correction for it, but that was my last conscious thought. As I pushed the stick forward, there was terrific ‘G’ pressure which forced my head down between my knees and tore my hands from the controls—then I lost consciousness. When I came to I was falling head over heels just under the cloud base, with pieces of the aircraft fluttering all round me and the main part of the fuselage two or three hundred feet below me, minus the engine, wings and tail unit. It was turning in a lazy spin and with a big rip right down the back. My first thought and reaction was to pull the ripcord of my parachute, without looking to see what could fall on me. Luckily everything worked out all right, after an anxious moment when I thought the ‘chute’ wasn't going to open. It did, however, and the pieces of my disintegrated Spitfire went down, leaving me behind. On taking stock of my surroundings, I could see that I was about 2,000 to 3,000 feet above an island which was in the mouth of the Ganges. This put me fairly well on course, which was fortunate, as I hadn't seen land for over an hour. My parachute descent didn't last more than two or three minutes, and after making sure I was going to land in a clump of palms, a strong wind carried me well over them until I finally came down in a paddyfield, to be dragged along through the muddy water before I could release my harness.
    Brown managed to reach a native village, where he spent the night, and the next day after a rough journey by bullock cart and native boat he eventually reached an Indian hospital. Not until some days later was it discovered that his spine was injured. Before leaving for home, where he subsequently recovered, Brown heard that a salvage party had discovered pieces of his Spitfire scattered over an area of twenty square miles.


    Cheers, Tom

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    RAF Honington
    Posts
    478
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default lucky

    Sounds like this guy might have been a cat in his previous incarnation and was using up some of his 9 lives! LOL

    Dee

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hornsea, East Yorkshire, UK
    Posts
    3,789
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 23 Times in 22 Posts

    Default

    Very interesting Tom, many thanks

    Malcolm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Port Townsed, WA. USA.
    Posts
    1
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Default

    At least until last month I believe Collin Brown was still alive and living in New Zealand. I went to school with his son. Very few of these people left now.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Posts
    1,010
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Default

    Tom Thorne's quotation is derived from Wing Commander H L Thompson's "New Zealanders with the RAF, Volume 3" (Mediterranean and Middle East, South-east Asia), pages 298/299.
    David D

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •