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Memorable Manitobans: Francis Roy Brown (1896-1960)

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Francis Roy Brown
Click to enlarge

Pilot, MLA (1954-1957).

Born on a farm at Stockton on 13 September 1896, son of T. A. Brown and Rachael Ruby Rose, brother of Frank Brown, when he was 10 his family moved to Winnipeg where he was educated at Kelvin High School. In 1914 he was western Canadian cycling champion, and he joined the cycle corps in the Canadian Expeditionary Force. In 1916 he joined the Royal Flying Corps. Although he was a fighter pilot, he was not the Roy Brown who shot down the “Red Baron,” a point he reiterated throughout his life.

In 1927 he became a bush pilot with Western Canadian Airways, and he was one of the pilots who found a lost Arctic party in 1929. He and men like him opened the north, freighting whole towns and untold tons of mining machinery into an untapped land. He had the first mail contract with Western Canada Airways in 1930. Later he founded Wings Limited, which was bought by CP Air in 1941. He subsequently became Vice-President of Central Northern Airways. He was elected MLA for Rupert’s Land as a Liberal-Progressivein 1953 and served as a spokesman for northern interests in the House.

On 10 April 1923, he married Diana Mae Peverette (c1899-1964), daughter of Frederick Peverette of London, England. They had two children: Nola Peverette Brown (1928-1988, wife of Aubrey J. Halter) and Georgia Greer Brown (c1936-2007, wife of Edward Hilderman).

He died at Winnipeg on 30 November 1960. He was inducted posthumously into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame (1975) and is commemorated by Brown Lake in northern Manitoba.

His articles for the Manitoba Historical Society:

The Origin and Growth of Western Canada Aviation
MHS Transactions, Series 3, Number 14, 1957-58 Season

Sources:

The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1956.

“Veteran north pilot Roy Brown is dead,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 December 1960, page 8.

“Early Manitoba flier named to aviation’s hall of fame,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 September 1975, page 16.

Obituary [Nola Peverette Halter], Winnipeg Free Press, 28 March 1988, page C10.

Dictionary of Manitoba Biography by J. M. Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.

Obituary [Georgia Hilderman], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 February 2007.

We thank Reese Halter and Nathan Kramer for providing additional information used here.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 3 October 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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