The autobiography of one of the greatest pilots in history.
In 1939 Eric Brown was on a University of Edinburgh exchange course in Germany, and the first he knew of the war was when the Gestapo came to arrest him. They released him, not realising he was a pilot in the RAF volunteer reserve - and the rest is history.
Eric Brown joined the Fleet Air Arm and went on to be the greatest test pilot in history, flying more different aircraft types than anyone else. During his lifetime he made a record-breaking 2,407 aircraft carrier landings and survived 11 plane crashes.
One of Britain's few German-speaking airmen, he went to Germany in 1945 to test the Nazi jets, interviewing (among others) Hermann Goering and Hanna Reitsch. He flew the suicidally dangerous Me 163 rocket plane and tested the first British jets.
Wings on My Sleeve is 'Winkle' Brown's incredible story.
©2006 Eric Brown (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Captain Eric Brown died 21 February 2016 at the age of 97 in Surry, England. Brown was born in Leth, Scotland in 1919. This renewed the interest in his memoir and various biographies about Brown. This memoir was originally published in 1961. It has recently been reprinted but also is now an e-book and audiobook.
The book starts in 1939 when Brown was on an exchange course in German from the University of Edinburgh. The Gestapo escorted him from Germany stating the two counties were now at war. Brown briefly covers his early life but most of the book is about his flying career. Brown was the most decorated flyer of WWII in RN history. He is the only man to have flown every type of plane flown or experimented with during WWII not only British but planes from the United States, Italy, Japan and Germany. Brown had more carrier take offs and landings than any other RN pilot. Early in the War he was stationed aboard the carrier HMS Audacity. During the war he was moved from flying combat missions to that of a test pilot. He tested the early British jets and even flew the Nazi jets. After the War he interviewed many Nazi leaders including Hermann Goering and Hanna Reitsch.
I particularly enjoyed the section where he crashed his plane in front of Winston S. Churchill. Earlier Churchill learned to fly planes and survived a crash after which Clementine suggested he stop flying planes. Brown also tells about uncovering a neo-Nazi ring in the 1950’s. During the Korean War Brown flew Panther’s off the carrier HMS Peruses. Brown served in the Royal Navy from 1939 to 1970.
The book is well written and understated in the true English fashion. The book also had a quite understated humor to it. I found the memoir absolutely fascinating and I learned so much more about the air war during WWII but also the various types of planes. If you are interested in airplanes and WWII you will find this a must read book. Cameron Stewart did a good job narrating the book. Stewart is an American film and Television actor who also narrates audiobooks.
"An exceptional story"
The story of an incredible man that covers a vast range of aviation situations and aircraft types. I can never understand why Winkle Brown is not better known for his record breaking achievements.
"A great read!"
I found this a real turner. The story of a truly unique flying career, never to be repeated.
"A Remarkable Man and Incredible Pilot"
A very interesting account of the life of a remarkable man and incredible pilot. It is mind boggling how many aircraft types and helicopters he flew. His skill , daring and enthusiasm are to be admired and his award of a CBE was well deserved.
The narration was very good, being clear and well paced.
I never expected that a tests pilot's story would be so fascinating. Must read for anyone interested in military aviation.
"An incredible story from start to finish"
If this were a work of fiction you'd say it was far fetched. Eric Brown was present at so many aviation milestones and saw so much in his long life. He had so many lucky escapes I'm beginning to think it was divine intervention as well as skill and luck that saved him. I met him once and he was a perfect gentleman. His book is gripping throughout and gives an incredible insight into wartime and post-war aviation development.
"What a remarkable career"
Really enjoyable story of a remarkable career. Quite humbling, and yet not at all boastful. Very interesting to hear about the German experimental aircraft from the end of WWll
"Marvellous in every way"
Best autobiography I've heard. Well narrated and compellingly written.
Actual detailed knowledge and stories relating to aircraft and people.
The bit between the beginning and the end.
Intelligence under high G
"Essential reading for air enthusiasts"
This book narrates the career of the greatest pilot ever to have served in any armed forces of any nation. There is no false bravado and give an insight into the world of test flying and the development of carrier aircraft during the Second World War and the rubber deck concept developed for carrier jets. Eric winkle Brown led a life that most of us can only dream about, he was paid to do something he loved, and did it astoundingly well. Cameron Stewert narrates this book with his usual impeccable style. All in all a must read for anyone with an interest in aviation or world war 2.
"What a hero!"
Great book about a great man. This man has done it all as a pilot, a record breaker and a brave man. I bought this book after reading his obituary a sad passing.
"A classic autobiography"
I had already read the book, and seen Eric Brown on many documentary programmes where he related his extraordinary life from a young boy meeting and flying with Ernst Udet in Germany in 1936 to his career as a Navy flyer and test pilot to his last rank as rear admiral.
An absorbing must read for anyone interested in military aviation.
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