Brown, Robert Augustus
No. 816108, 502 Squadron, Royal Air Force (Auxiliary Air Force)
Killed in an aircraft accident on Thursday 30 July 1942 (aged 32)
Belfast (Dundonald) Cemetery (Section F.4. Grave 362)
Robert Augustus Brown was born on 22 January 1910 at 12 Dunedin Terrace, Bangor and he was a son of Robert Augustus Brown and Mary Brown (nee Clarke). When Robert was born in Bangor, his father – a painter – was in Boston (England or USA not specified). It was his mother Mary who registered his birth. In one record he is described as her ‘only son’.
In the 1911 census return, Robert Augustus Brown (aged 15 months), was listed as a ‘Boarder’ residing at 49 Beatrice Road, Bangor. Maggie McIntosh (aged 37) was listed as the Head of Family and, also living there were Maggie’s sister, Mary Ann Jordan (aged 34), along with Mary Ann’s two surviving children, William (aged 4) and Agnes Jane (aged 3).
Margaret (Maggie) Tanner from Groomsport and James McIntosh, a sailor from Groomsport, were married on 11 January 1901 in Groomsport Presbyterian Church. They had no children.
Mary Ann Tanner from Groomsport and Robert Jordan, a sailor from Groomsport, were married on 21 May 1907 in Helen’s Bay Presbyterian Church. They had three children:
William (born 3 May 1907 at 42 Beatrice Road, Bangor)
Agnes Jane (born 26 April 1908 at 39 Beatrice Road, Bangor)
Robert (born 17 April 1910 at 39 Beatrice Road, Bangor; died of influenza 6 December 1910)
Robert Augustus Brown (aged 25) and Vina McCullough (aged 21) were married on 13 June 1935 in Belfast Registrar’s Office. Vina McCullough was born on 20 November 1914 at 4 Lecumpher Street, Belfast, and she was a daughter of Samuel McCullough (a fitter) and Sophia McCullough (nee McAdam).
During the Second World War Corporal Robert Augustus Brown (No. 816108) served with the Auxiliary Air Force and, at the time of his death on 30 July 1942, he was a ground crew technician with 502 Squadron, Royal Air Force.
At 2224 hours on 29 July 1942, an Armstrong Whitworth Whitley aircraft (Z9192) landed at RAF Predannack in Cornwall damaging a tail wheel. At 1430 hours on 30 July 1942, the repaired plane took off bound for St. Eval in Cornwall carrying the crew of six along with three ground crew passengers who had assisted with the repairs. Reports suggested that the aircraft stalled on approach to the St. Eval airfield.
The aircraft came down in fields at Merlin Farm, St. Mawgan, Cornwall. A total of nine people, six crew members and three passengers, died in the burning wreckage:
- Aircraftman Second Class Edward Barrett (No. 816224) from Belfast, aged 28, Passenger (Ground Crew), buried in St. Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall.
- Corporal Robert Augustus Brown (No. 816108) from Belfast, aged 32, Passenger (Ground Crew), AAF, buried in Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast.
- Flight Sergeant George Robertson Douglas (No. 568410), aged 22, Air Gunner RAFVR, buried in St. Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall
- Pilot Officer Leonard John Endicott (No. 115749), aged 30, Pilot RAFVR, buried in St. Mawgan Burial Ground, Cornwall.
- Pilot Officer Geoffrey Ronald Gethings (No. 120940), Observer RAFVR, buried in St Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall.
- Warrant Officer William George Mewha (No. 816190) from Belfast, aged 22, AAF Observer/Radio Operator, buried in Carnmoney Cemetery Belfast.
- Aircraftman Second Class Harold Herbert Nicholls (No. 1212095) from Earlsfield, aged 21, Passenger (Ground Crew) RAFVR, buried in Wandsworth (Earlsfield) Cemetery.
- Sergeant William Elwyn Powell (No. 922754) from Neath, Wales, aged 24, Wireless Operator/ Air Gunner RAFVR, buried in Neath (Llantwit) Cemetery.
- Sergeant Frederick Newman Smith (No. R73224) from Portland, Maine, USA, aged 24, Pilot RCAF, buried in St Columb Major Cemetery, Cornwall.
Corporal Robert Augustus Brown (No. 816108) died on 30 July 1942 at St Eval, Cornwall, and he was buried in Dundonald Cemetery, Belfast. There is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:
AT THE GOING DOWN
OF THE SUN
AND IN THE MORNING
WE WILL REMEMBER
Also buried in that grave were:
- Samuel McCullough of 322 Beersbridge Road, Belfast who died on 7 February 1952 (aged 67).
- Noeleen McCullough of 4 Lecumpher Street, Belfast who died of pneumonia on 24 November 1913 (aged 11 months).