Etc. -- Robert Ray Brown Killed in Action, 1918 (4 articles)
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The following is from a page 5 article in the 11 Apr 1918 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.


The following letter is from Lieutenant Ray Brown, son of Mr. W. G. Brown of Simcoe, who volunteered for service with the Royal Flying Corps in June. 
He spent some months in training at the University of Toronto and at Long Branch, and went with his Corps to Fort Worth, Texas, for the winter months, returning to Toronto in February. 
After a week's leave to say good-bye to his parents, brother and sister, and his old school mates and friends in Norfolk County, he sailed for England.

Dear Sister, -- I am in London enjoying nine days leave before reporting to a flying camp.

As we were nearing this side one fine morning, while we were all quietly enjoying our breakfast, we heard a sound as though we had run on a rock. The boat shuddered and shook and immediately listed to port. 
We naturally wondered what could have happened. "Of course we were not scared at all," you know. Since the alarm whistle did not blow we went up on deck to see what had happened or why the captain was giving up such a bumpy ride. 
We were told they had sighted a pretty little German sub with his eye above the briny blue, so they dropped a couple of depth bombs off the back of a destroyer and one of the boats took a shot at it. 
We were informed the dear little sub turned over on its back, gave a final kick, emitted a little oil, and took a dive for the bottom of the sea.

On the whole we had a wonderful journey. We sailed up the Firth of Clyde to Glasgow, accompanied by a convoy of dirigible balloons. These were cigar shaped gas bags, with a basket underneath which carried two or three men, an engine to propel it through the air, a machine gun and a couple of bombs. It could travel very well and should be a very effective weapon against Willy Sub.

It was a lovely sight to observe the nice clean villages on the mountain sides. There was very little snow to be seen and green fields were showing up splendidly. On the whole it is about the most picturesque sight I have ever seen.

None of us were actually sea-sick, but some of us cast up Jonah once during our voyage. We had only one stormy day. The boat rolled and tossed and everything loose responded to the magic call of gravity. 
With the first big heave, loose chairs with their human burden, took a flying trip across the room, sweeping everything before them. Tables that were bolted down moved with ease before the charging forces. 
The boat swayed back on the other side and each chair tried to locate its original position without delay. This was great fun for us who had solid seats.

Sugar and meat are guarded as gold, but we get along very well. I expect to go to a flying camp on Thursday night. I sent a wire. Did you receive it?

                                                         Love to all, Ray


The following is from a page 1 article in the 27 Jun 1918 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.


Mr. and Mrs. W. G. Brown of West Street, have received word that their son, Flight Lieut. Ray Brown, was killed in England on Tuesday, June 18th.

The young man had just passed his 24th birthday and previous to enlisting in Toronto about a year ago, was 
a draughtsman for the Hydro-Electric Commission.

The following is from a page 1 article in the 27 Jun 1918 issue of the Waterford Star newspaper.

Word has been received of the death in action of Flight-Lieut. Ray Brown, a well-known Simcoe 
young man, who left here at the time the late 
Flight-Lieut. Hawkins was to have gone in the spring. The two young men were great chums. 
Lieut. Brown's parents reside in Simcoe.


The following is from a page 5 article in the 11 Apr 1918 issue of the Simcoe Reformer newspaper.


The following letter, received by Mr. W. G. Brown, father of the dead aviator, from a friend of his son, describes the accident:

Royal Air Force
Camp Beaulieu
Hants, England
17 Jun 1918

Dear Mr. Brown, -- It is with the deepest regret that I write you these few lines in regard to the most unfortunate accident which your son Ray met with this morning. 

You have probably already received word of his death by cablegram, but I, as his chum and room mate, wish to send you the heartfelt sympathy of all of us who knew him.

Ray had been my chum and room mate ever since I arrived here in England some three months ago.

Up until today he had done some remarkable work and had finished his course before any of those who had arrived here at the same time.

He was about ready to leave for another camp for a week or so and then to France.

He enjoyed the best of health over here and good times; was a hard worker, and there were few better flyers in the camp.

He left the aerodrome here at 11 o'clock this morning to go over to the Solent, not far from here, to do some aerial flying. 

Not lone after this it was reported that he had been killed by diving into the sea.

Soon after lunch I went over to see what could be done in regard to recovering the body. I am sorry to say that as there was quite a rough sea and a high tide, it will be impossible to recover it until tomorrow morning.

While there I learned these few facts from an eye witness. He was making his sixth dive at the target when his machine turned over on its back at about 60 feet over the water.

He was conscious of his position the whole time and tried to gain sufficient height to make it safe to get out of it, by climbing on his back.

Unable to do this he half rolled the machine to the upright position, but in doing so lost flying speed and the machine crashed into the water.

Had he been a little higher all would have been O.K. The force of machine hitting the water was alone enough to kill him, and no one can be blamed. He did all any man ever could do and sure made a great effort to save himself.

We are forwarding all his personal effects, the key along with this letter and the trunk will follow later. Will let you know further particular as soon as I find out. All possible will be done by friends here for him.

Trusting these few lines will enlighten you somewhat and let you know that all those who knew him send you their deep sympathy. I am,


Respectfully yours,
Harland F. Banks.

Ray Brown

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