Flying Officer Edwin Hanlon Brown, the son of Thomas John Brown and Beatrice Lilian Brown, was born at Toowoomba in Queensland on 9th May 1918. He was educated at the Toowoomba Grammar School. He was enrolled in the Reserve of the Royal Australian Air Force at No. 2 Recruiting Centre in Sydney on 24th May 1940 after swearing an oath of allegiance. He had previously served for two years in the 25th Battalion of the Citizen Military Forces. At the time of his enrolment he was unmarried, employed as a Bank Clerk at the Crow’s Nest Branch of the Union Bank and residing at 56 Fairlight Street, Manly, New South Wales.
Flying Officer Edwin Brown, at the age of 22 years and 5 months was enlisted into the Citizen Air Force of the R.A.A.F. at No. 2 Recruiting Centre in Sydney on 14th October 1940 after giving an undertaking that he would serve for the duration of the war and an additional twelve months. His physical description at the time of enlistment was that he was 5 feet 11 inches in height and weighed 169 pounds. He had a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. He stated that he was of the Church of England religion. He gave his next of kin as his mother, Mrs Beatrice Lilian Brown, residing at Upper Undulla, Tara, Queensland.
Flying Officer Edwin Brown was allotted the service number of 402724 and he joined No. 2 Initial Training School at Lindfield in New South Wales on 14th October 1940 for training in the basics of service life. He joined No. 8 Elementary Flying Training School at Narrandera in New South Wales on 12th December 1940. He joined No. 2 Embarkation Depot at Bradfield Park in Sydney on 6th February 1941 to prepare for movement overseas on attachment to the Royal Canadian Air Force for further training.
Flying Officer Edwin Brown joined No. 2 Service Flying Training School at Uplands in Ontario on 20th March 1941. After qualifying as a pilot he was awarded the Flying Qualification Badge on 23rd May 1941. He was remustered to the Special Group on 28th May 1941 and commissioned as a Pilot Officer on the following day. He joined No. 1 Manning Depot at Halifax in Nova Scotia on 29th May 1941 to prepare for movement to England on attachment to the Royal Air Force. He embarked from Canada on 18th June 1941 and he disembarked in England on 16th July 1942 where he joined No. 3 Personnel Reception Centre at Brighton on 18th July 1942. He Joined No. 42 Operational Training Unit at Royal Air Force Station Andover for operational training on 21st July 1941. He became an instructor at the Unit on 14th September 1941. He was promoted to the rank of Temporary Flying Officer on 29th November 1941. He joined Royal Air Force Station Oldham on 14th January 1943. He joined the Base Reinforcement Pool (Africa) on 15th February 1943 and arrived in Africa the following day. He joined No. 140 Squadron Royal Air Force for operational duties on 23rd March 1942.
Flying Officer Edwin Brown was the Pilot of a No. 682 Squadron Royal Air Force CB IV Spitfire AA803 operating from Royal Air Force Station Maison Blanche in Algeria that was lost during air operations four miles north of Algiers in Algeria on 5th May 1943. He was buried in the El Alia Cemetery. At the time of his death, Edward Brown was 25 years of age.
Flying Officer Edwin Brown received an immediate award of the Distinguished Flying Cross. The citation for his award states:
Flying Officer Brown has completed sixty two sorties and has invariably displayed great skill and determination. This was amply demonstrated one day in April, 1943, when he successfully accomplished a reconnaissance flight over Naples and the adjacent area in the face of heavy and accurate fire from ground defences. This officer’s keenness and devotion to duty have been worthy of high praise.
His headstone in the El Alia Cemetery contains the family inscription “Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten”. Edwin Hanlon’s name is commemorated on Panel No. 119 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and locally on the Toowoomba Grammar School World War 2 Honour Board.
View on Australian War Memorial