Veteran Stories:
Roy Brown

Air Force

  • Four downed airman in hiding at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Denille in Belgium. Many Belgians risked their family's safety to shelter Allied soldiers from the Germans. R to L: Jim Lehey, Roy Brown, William Muse, John Sinclair.

    Roy Brown
  • Airman Roy Clare Brown in the back yard of the Lietaert residence at 100 rue de la Station at Mouscron, Belgium, May 10, 1944. L to R: Valère Lestienne, Julia Lietaert (landlord), Roy Brown, Constant Foulon, Armand Deboever.

    Roy Brown
  • Home of Oscar and Mrs. Denille, who hid Roy Brown after his plane crash. Mrs. Denille is in the foreground, 1944.

    Roy Brown
  • Tickets from a Government of Canada ration book, 1945.

    Roy Brown
  • Officer R. C. Brown's dog tags.

    Roy Brown
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"Then later that night, there was a chap came past, whistling "O Canada". That was his way of confirming that I was, in fact, Canadian"

Transcript

My name is Roy Brown. I was a gunner in the RCAF. A member of 425 Squadron. Unfortunately, I was shot down on my first trip. We were a new crew on the squadron. At that time they were putting a gun turret in the bottom of the Halifax's. They of course needed one extra gunner. The target that night was the Hansenbier Railway Yards. We apparently hit the target and we were on our way home. And, of course we didn't make it because we were shot down over Belgium. I landed in a field and I hid my parachute and started walking to get out of the immediate area knowing that they'd be looking for us. I guess I must have hit my head on something or something hit my head and it tore the flesh around my eye. The flesh was kind of hanging down and I attempted to sew it up - we had needle and thread - but I just didn't have enough guts. I patched it up as best I could. Two people went past me and took a look, then later there was another threw me in some bread. Then later that night, there was a chap came past, whistling "O Canada". That was his way of confirming that I was, in fact, Canadian. Then he indicated for me to follow him and he took me to a home in a safe house, they called it, in Mouscron. That was run by a Julia Lietaert. She, and her brother was a doctor. He's the chap that patched up my eye for me and put a few stitches in it. There were so many people over there who were willing to help you and had they been captured or had I told my captors later who had helped me, there's no doubt in my mind that they would have been shot and they would have been shot right then and there in front of their family and everybody else, so... One photograph of us by a brick wall with Valère Lestienne, that's the one where there's five of us. Valère Lestienne was the chief of the Front de liberation in Mouscron. The lady in that photograph is Julia Lietaert. The other two gentlemen were underground resisters. I was moved eventually... 54 rue de Tournae that's the home of Madame and Oscar Denille. And when I arrived at their home they were already hiding an American chap. Jim Lehey was his name. Because there wasn't a great deal for us to do there, we didn't want to... we didn't get outside very much. The resistance people in the town arranged... they arranged for two of Jim's crew to come over and visit us and they spent the day with us. This is another example of how these Belgium resisters would put themselves at great risk by moving people around, because the place was crawling with Germans all the time... so... occupying troops. But they managed to make a day of celebration for us who were living with them.
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