Memorable Manitobans: Francis Roy Brown (1896-1960)
Pilot, MLA (1954-1957).
Born on a farm at Stockton on 13 September 1896, son of T. A. Brown and Rachael Ruby Rose (?-1957), 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-Progressive in 1953 and served as a spokesman for northern interests in the House, but was defeated by a large margin in the 1958 general election.
On 10 April 1923, he married Edith Mae Diana Peverette (c1899-1964), daughter of Frederick Peverette of London, England. They had two children: Nola Peverette Brown (1928-1988, wife of Aubrey Jay 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:
1926 Canada census, Library and Archives Canada.
The Canadian Parliamentary Guide, 1956.
“Mother of MLA Mrs. Ruby Brown dies,” Winnipeg Free Press, 17 June 1957, page 37.
“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 John M. “Jack” Bumsted, Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 1999.
Obituary [Georgia Hilderman], Winnipeg Free Press, 14 February 2007.
We thank Reese Halter, Nathan Kramer, and Oliver Bernuetz (Legislative Library of Manitoba) for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 22 January 2022