Jack Owen Brown

Tribute Page: WW2 SAAF pilot  Jack Owen Brown

Hi and welcome to this site!

I made contact with Dan McElrea on the internet who is Jack's step-son.  Dan kindly sent to me scans of Jack's log book, photographs and other war memorabilia.  Thanks to Mrs. Ebee Brown who gave permission for everything to be published here.

Jack Owen "John" Brown joined the SAAF in 1941. He qualified as a fighter pilot and was selected for pilot training at 6 Air School, Potchefstroom, where he gave instruction on Tiger Moths until early 1944. 

Jack was sent "up north" and eventually joined No. 10 Fighter squadron stationed in North Africa. This squadron was equipped with Spitfires and they performed rear guard duties to protect Allied key installations in the Middle East. They were most of the time on stand-by but did the occasional shipping patrol or high altitude intercept, not much action. Jack only flew 5 operations in the 5 months that he was with 10 squadron.

The only operation flown over enemy territory by Jack, while he was with 10 squadron, was with operation "Thesis" when several RAF and SAAF squadrons attacked targets in Crete on 16 October 1944. On this occasion Jack was shot down and spent 19 days with Greek partisans in enemy held territory. He escaped from the island via a British speed boat to Trobuk where after he was taken to Cairo.

Jack joined 2 squadron early in 1945 and stayed with them until the end of the war. 2 Squadron flew mostly fighter/bomber kind of missions with their Spitfires to targets in northern Italy and even sometimes over the Adriatic to Yugoslavia. During this last phase of the war  the enemy used sophisticated and extensive anti aircraft weapons causing high losses to our fighter squadrons now primary doing low altitude dive-bombing of targets.

During his operational tour Jack flew a total of  71 ops in 93.6 ops hours. He was awarded the MiD in June 1945.

After the war Jack did civilian pilot training for a while and then in the 1960's he emigrated to New Zealand where he had a successful career in the designing and building residential homes.

This is a living web site. Any input and/or participation will be much appreciated regarding additional information, correctness, information from relatives of members who served with Jack, photographs, stories etc. Please e-mail me. 

If you perhaps have a family member who served as a SAAF fighter pilot during WW2 and you would want to find out more about his war service please contact me, hopefully I can be of some help.

Tinus le Roux

May 2018

Military Career

2 Squadron Spitfire IX with code "Y" flown on many occasions by Jack.



With 10 squadron, jack in front

 In Italy while with 2 Squadron


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