JAMES S. BROWNE (1922 - 1942)

(CNAC April/May 1942 - November 17, 1942)
(Hump Flights - XXX)

At one point this is the information we had:

Jack Brown
Is this the same person as James Browne and J.S. Brown?
(1995 mailing list says Jim Browne died in 1943)

Now we believe that the above names belong to the same person, "James S. Browne", killed in the same crash, November 17, 1942, along with John Dean and Radio Operator K.L. Yang.

NOTE: Except that now we have discovered another pilot named Jack Brown

December 3, 2002
Received the following e-mail from a distant cousin of James S. Browne.

Jimmy Browne was my distant cousin and came from Winnetka, Illinois. I can't be positive but I believe he was born in Evanston, IL in 1920. He was adopted by Herbert S. and Harriet Browne as an infant and lived in Evanston and Winnetka until he joined the ATA. He went to New Trier High School, then to Riverside Military Academy.

(Courtesy of Bob Willett)

He joined Ferry Command in the year before the war and ferried bombers to England, but came home, then flew by way of South America and Africa to China to fly for CNAC. I don't have the dates, but it was probably the fall of 1941. Dragon's Wings shows that he was on the only C 47 that disappeared during 1942. He was on a crew with Captain Dean and Radio operator Young, flying as co-pilot, when the plane disappeared on a flight between Kunming and Dinjan on Nov 17, 1942.

He was a few years older than I, but his best friend Frank Johnson of Winnetka later became a good friend of mine, and a classmate and fraternity brother at Knox College. He tells some wild tales about Jimmie. I don't know if there were other J Browns in the CNAC, but I believe Jimmie was the one in your roster.

Also, my wife, Donna, is from Kaleva, MI and lived across the street from Bob Rengo. Donna's mother babysat for the three Rengo kids often. Bob often talked about his days in China. He was pretty much the king of Kaleva. I have not corresponded with you before, but am delighted that I found the website last night. Jimmie Brown was killed before Bob Rengo arrived on the scene and I had somehow thought Bob was with the Flying Tigers, but couldn't find any record of him there or with the 14th Air Force, so finally decided to look under CNAC. Yours is a truly remarkable web site and I thank you for all your work.

I am due to go to Beijing in March to put on a banking conference and this whole episode makes me want to get to Kunming. Jimmie's disappearance really destroyed his parents. Haddie (Harriet) Browne, his mother, and "Brownie" (first name I don't remember, he was always called just Brownie) were elderly when Jimmie was adopted, and Hadda's health was not good. They declined after Jimmie's death, but I lost track of them as I went in service. The unsolved mystery of his disappearance still bothers me.

Anyhow, thanks so much for your help.

Bob Willett
Cocoa Beach, FL
e-mail willettr@bellsouth.net

The following news clipping from the "Winnetka (IL) Talk" paper is courtesy of Bob Willett.
Thanks Bob.

August 23, 2004

Another bit of information about Jimmie (James S. Browne): Eric Viles President of the ATA Association, wrote recently , "James S. Browne served in the Air Transport Auxiliary as a Second Officer from May 22, 1941 to March 28, 1942." It would appear he probably joined CNAC about April or May after his visit home enroute from England to China.

I am going to the University of Miami Richter Library in the next few weeks where they have a large collection of Pan Am records, including a number of CNAC file during the war years.

Bob Willett
Merritt Island, FL

January 14, 2005 -- Here's some additional information That Bob Willett found in the Pan Am Collection in Miami.

Jim Browne arrived in India on October 7, 1942 coming on a Pan Am DC-3 from Miami (September 1942) flown by Hal Sweet. They headed to Dinjan from there. Others on that flight were Charles Sharkey, Richard Snell, Weldon Tutwiler, Ed Leatherbury, and Al Oldenburg.

According to Jim's other cousin, Helen Cole of Richmond, IL, Sweet recruited Jim and met Jim's parents in Chicago. Sweet referred to Jim as "his young ace".

Bob Willett supplied the following document

AN AIRLINE AT WAR by Robert L. Willett (2008)
(subtitled) Pan Am's China National Aviation Corporation and Its Men
(Bob Willett and Jimmie Brown were cousins)
Dedicated to Captain John J. Dean,
co-pilot James S. Browne, and Radio
Operator K.L. Yang, the first of
C.N.A.C. to die on The Hump.

Contact Bob Willett (willettr@bellsouth.net) if you would like a signed copy.

If you would like to share any information about James S. Browne
or would like to be added to the CNAC e-mail distribution list,
please let the CNAC Web Editor, Tom Moore, know.

Background music to this page can be controlled here.
"Begin The Beguine".
Top of the chart in 1940.
<bgsound src="beginthebeguine02.mp3" loop=infinite>

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