The Stratton Brown Brothers

This account of the Stratton Brown family is based almost entirely on material (letters and newspaper clippings) sent to me by Mrs Fiona van Lidth de Jeude in Holland. I first made contact with her in 1998 when the boys of the V.I. Museum reported that Mrs van Lidth de Jeude had visited the school in search of information on her two uncles, Charles and Henry Stratton Brown. With the address provided by the V.I. boys, I entered into correspondence with her via good old-fashioned snail mail. Mrs van Lidth de Jeude was the former Fiona Brown, the grand daughter of Miss Stratton Brown, the founder of first government girls English school in Kuala Lumpur in 1896. She later managed the Strattton Estate in Petaling. Mrs van Lidth de Jeude herself was born in Malaya and had spent many years in the country. Originally I was only interested in information regarding her two uncles, Charles and Henry Stratton Brown, both Old Victorians, as there is sparse information on them in the back issues of The Victorian. They apparently had completed their schooling at V.I. well before the school magazine first made its appearance in 1923. However, Mrs van Lidth de Jeude's account of the Stratton Brown saga in the colonial era, is of such historical interest that her entire (edited) account is posted below followed by photographs and newspaper clippings.

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My grandmother was an extremely well travelled lady and had even been around Cape Horn when she was two years old – a sailing ship (barque). The situation was like this:- great grandfather would collect his ship (new one) in Glasgow, go out East via South Africa, trade around the Pacific area for a while, collect wool from Melbourne and go back to Glasgow via Cape Horn. It used to take about seven months to get to Singapore and then, with the China trade as well, a journey would take about two years to get back to Glasgow. Because he was a captain, and had been from the age of 24, his wife was allowed to travel with him. Grandmother was born on December 1st, 1872. Unfortunately, when her sister was born three years later (also in Glasgow), great grandmother died and both the girls were put in the care of great grandmother’s sister who lived in Brighton. Grandmother went then to a “finishing school” in Remagen, Germany, and then to Cambridge to do a Post Graduate course for teachers. She did very well there, even though all the ladies, also from Newnham and Girton, had to sit apart from the gentlemen! She spent six months at a school in Stamford Hill before she was selected by the Colonial Office to go out to Malaya (or the FMS as it was known then).

Grandmother – she was known as Miss Stratton - arrived in Malaya in 1896 with a three year contract from the Colonial Office in London to start the first Government English School for girls. Boys under seven years were allowed but the pupils she had were mostly Chinese towkays’ children with, of course, Eurasians and Europeans whose ages varied from seven to fifteen years. The Chinese girls were secluded when they reached puberty so they stayed at school only until eleven years of age.

At the time when grandmother’s contract was coming to an end the Methodists had arrived and were looking for land and a building. My grandmother suggested to the Government that they (the Methodists) should take over the school when her contract ended and that is what happened. Her school became the Methodist Girls School. She then took over St George’s school in Penang and was there about three years and then, in 1902, she went as Headmistress to the newly opened St Michael’s School just being started by the Kilburn sisters in Maymyo in the Northern Shan States in Upper Burma for European children. The Kilburn sisters already had large girls schools in Burma and a very large mixed school in Rangoon.

In the beginning of 1903, she returned to Selangor and went to Singapore where she married Mr James Brown of the FMS Government Printing Department at St Andrews Cathedral. She was married there because my great grandfather’s ship (he was a merchant navy captain) was docked there and he only had a short time before he had to leave!

My grandparents settled in Kuala Lumpur and lived next to the Museum and there Hal, Charles and Beatrice (my mother) were born. All the three children were given the name Stratton but it is not hyphenated. What used to happen was that there would be several Browns and it was then usual to add on another name just to differentiate between the different Browns! Stratton was my grandmother’s maiden name but it was given as an extra name in the christening to all three children.

Henry (or Hal as he was always called by his family and friends) was born on 23rd November 1903 and Charles on 10th February 1905. Both went to the V.I. presumably from a very early age (the school then catered for pupils from infant school to Senior Cambridge) as I don't know where else they would have gone. They would have had Mr Bennett Shaw as their headmaster. There was also a Mr Stainer who was Assistant Master who later joined The Malay Mail. Grandmother in her original autobiography said that the grounds of the original V.I. went down to the river and, in the old days, the masters who could shoot used to go down to the river during recess to shoot crocodiles. One master once shot a ten-footer!

I think both boys were quite intelligent - Hal was particularly good at sports - and when Charles was thirteen he was the first boy in the FMS and Straits Settlement to be given the Governor of Singapore's nomination for the Royal Navy. He passed the examination papers sent out to him in Kuala Lumpur and was sent to Osborne in England then used for thirteen year old cadets as preliminary to Dartmouth which he was sent to. This was in 1918. My grandmother had to have permission from the Secretary of State in England to take her two boys to England as it was war time. However the war ended in November of that year just before they reached England in their ship.

Uncle Hal went to Tonbridge School in Kent and afterwards to Hawkesbury Agricultural College in Sydney, Australia. He married at 21 and left Sydney with his bride for an aerial honeymoon in a plane flown by his new brother-in-law, Captain E. W. Percival, a crack Australian pilot. Back in Malaya he did all sorts of things like sailing, motor-biking and more flying. Uncle Hal was (and probably still is) the only person who ever landed on the Fraser's Hill golf course because he lost his propeller (again). It was found in the jungle, brought to Fraser's Hill, remounted and off he flew again! He was manager of the No. 2 Dredge Petaling Tin. As war clouds gathered in Malaya, he joined the FMS Volunteer Royal Air Force. He was killed in May 1941 in his final test flight with his instructor, Flight-Lieut J.H. Allen, in Johore due to a heavy rain storm. Both of them were experienced flying men. It should have been easy but, if your time has come, nothing will stop it. Uncle Hal had one daughter, Pamela.

For many years Grandmother played the harmonium in St Mary’s Church and also trained the choir. But in 1908 she decided she had to earn some more money as grandfather was due to retire a couple of years later. Although grandfather, as a government servant, was not allowed to own property, my grandmother asked permission to buy land in Petaling and that permission was given by William Taylor (later Sir William) who was Resident-General, as long as grandfather had nothing to do with it. He knew that Grandmother had her own money as the Federation Government had bought her father’s Tanjong Pagar shares from the trustees. She bought fifty acres from an Indian and then, in 1910 and 1911, bought another 100 acres and planted rubber. It became known as Stratton Estate, Petaling. Then in 1912, she had a small house built on the Estate and the family went and lived there. Grandmother lived there right up to the war when she was about the last European woman to leave K.L.

My father was Sutherland Brown and he was a planter in the Kapar area. He was one of ten children and I think my other grandparents couldn’t think of another name for him so his Christian name, Sutherland, was my paternal grandmother’s maiden name! My mother and father - both Browns – were no relation to each other and so, in this case, Brown married Brown! And for the same reason that grandmother was known as Mrs Stratton Brown, my mother was known as Mrs Sutherland Brown. Do you get the picture?

I was christened Fiona Beatrice Sutherland Brown because Sutherland was a family name on my father’s side. I was the bridesmaid to my Uncle Charles in Malta in 1934 when I was six years old. I was then on the way to England with my mother to go to a boarding school and spend my holidays with my father’s eldest sister. That used to be the way for European children at that time – it was considered healthier than remaining in the tropics and schools in the Cameron Highlands did not yet exist. I started in England when I was at boarding school but lived in London during the holidays.

When the war started, Grandmother was on leave in England and so my parents thought it would be a good idea if she took me back to Malaya where it would be safer! We left in September 1940 in a huge convoy right round the North of Scotland, went practically to New York and then down to Cape Town. (All this to evade German U-boats!) Then from Cape Town to Durban and straight across the Indian Ocean to Penang when we were on our own. The journey took about two months! I spent one year at the Cameron Highlands Convent (Pensionnât de Notre Dame in those days) and we came down on December 8th, 1941 for our Christmas holidays and, of course, Pearl Harbour!

We celebrated Christmas but I did have a school friend staying with me because her father had come all the way from Bangkok to Penang when we broke up for the holidays to ask her to stay with a friend, because he didn’t consider Bangkok safe. My father managed to put him on a ship that was going to India – he couldn’t go back to Bangkok. My father was on Home Guard duty as he was the General Manager and his assistants from the other estates had been called up.

He had become General Manager of Vallambrosa Rubber Company by then (Ladang Sungai Kapar today) and I am so glad that I went to Malaya in 1940 as I would otherwise hardly have known my father. From 1934 to 1940 he had only once been on leave and that was in 1938 – my mother had also come home in 1936.

Uncle Charles was in the thick of naval action in the Mediterranean. His ship, the H.M.S. Barham, was struck by three torpedoes from German submarine U-331 off Sidi Barrani in North Africa in November 1941. She blew up in less than five minutes taking 862 men - 56 officers and 806 enlisted men - with her. There were 450 survivors including Uncle Charles. He went down with the ship with his binoculars round his neck but was saved coming up in an air bubble. He suffered stomach trouble for many years afterwards and was given shore jobs.

War eventually came to Malaya and at the beginning of January 1942 there were masses of troops in Malaya – the Indian army, Australians, British, etc. We had one or two false alarms when all the women and children were told to go south. Eventually everyone left in the beginning of January. The estates had to be abandoned. We left everything behind except one trunk for the three of us (my mother, friend and myself). We went to Tebrau Estate near Johore Bharu where we stayed three weeks. I had malaria at that time and had to spend a few days in hospital. My grandmother arrived later. She had gone into K.L. one day and met a British colonel who asked her what on earth she was doing in K.L. and that she had to leave straight away!

Nearer to the end of January my father joined us. Then we all went to Singapore and he managed to get passages on 29th January for my mother, friend and myself on a ship that was going to Bombay. My grandmother went on another ship that eventually took her to England. At that time it was chaos in Singapore – women and children were being pushed off, most of them not knowing where they would be going, British troops still arriving in Singapore just to be captured in February and the Japanese were bombing the shipping. We three reached Bombay and to our great relief the father of our friend was in hospital there with sciatica. He was so happy to see his daughter safe.

My father then joined the Indian Army Signals because of his languages and was made Second Lieutenant. The colonel of the Regiment was a friend of his and took him on. Father did not know anything about Signals but he looked after the men under him in every other way. He was eventually captured and ended up in Changi where he died in April 1942 of a typhus injection that had gone wrong and went to his heart. Of course we only heard this after the war from his friends who wrote to my mother. She also received letters from a major in the Signals who had kept his gold cigarette case all through the camp years and from the Sergeant under him who was full of gratitude for the way my father had looked after his men.

Mummie and I stayed in Bombay for two months and she decided that we would go back to England which we did and I went back to my old school in Wales. We lived in London and also experienced the V1 and V2 bombs! After the war grandmother was amongst the first of the civilians to return to Malaya – because of the plantation, but she had to have a military permit. And she remained on that Estate until the British finally left in 1959. Grandmother sold the Estate to a Chinese kongsi before she left. She was very well-known in those days and was often called the Grand Old Lady of Malaya. I also think she was the only woman who owned her own rubber estate. She had a difficult time after the war because of the rubber prices and the fact that the Japanese had destroyed a lot of the rubber trees, but she managed everything herself! A lot of guts!

In January 1947 we went back to Malaya and lived with my grandmother (who had gone back in 1946 as one of the first women because she had her estate to deal with) until my mother married again. Mother and I both got jobs and she worked at the Government offices opposite the Selangor Club while I started as Secretary (Confidential) with the Pre-Occupation Claims Commission which eventually became the War Damages Claims Commission. I ended up as Confidential Secretary to the Chairman of War Damage and stayed there until I eventually left in 1954.

My mother remarried in 1948 and stayed until the British left in 1959. Of course they and I had leave in between. When mother married again I went to live in K.L. with her and my stepfather who was Controller of Posts, Selangor. We lived in Hose Drive which was close to Birch Road and the V.I. I don’t think Hose Road exists any more!

I used to play a lot of sports all year round, especially hockey. I played for Selangor Club on the padang where the underground car park and all those flowers are now! I was also selected to represent Selangor and played for about four years in that team as left wing. I met my husband through the hockey – he played for Selangor Club, Selangor, the North Side and for Malaya when the all-India team came in 1953. He even scored against them! But of course Malaya lost. He was always known as Van Lidth – some thought his Christian name was Van but the name was so long that he left it at that. His name is Eef. We got married in London and never went back to Malaya except for holidays. I always have a soft spot for Malaysia being the land of my birth as well as my mother’s and her two brothers.

Uncle Charles had three sons but, unfortunately, through a divorce from his wife, he had very little chance to have contact with his boys until many years later. I am trying to remember when Charles died. My grandmother died in July or August 1966. My mother died on 11th August 1984 and looking through my old diaries I CHOIR of ST. MARY's, Kuala Lumpur, 1897-98 saw that I wrote Charles a letter in 1988 when he was very ill in hospital and I think he died that year. He would have been 82 or 83 years old.

Looking at the photo of the St Mary’s Church choir from the 1936 V.I. magazine, I didn’t realize that my grandfather was a tenor and I didn’t know that my grandmother had been presented with that photo. I could easily recognize him because his son Charles was what we call “the splitting image” of him, except for the moustache. My grandparents certainly knew the Talalla family and all the other prominent people – it was such a small community in those days compared with the K.L. of today! All the names that Mr Towers mentions are familiar to me as well as my grandmother.

My grandmother mentioned a whole lot of names in her autobiography in her early years. Unfortunately she lost all her records when she had to leave Malaya after the war when she was back in her Estate. What a pity I don’t remember the planting of the flame tree (in Henry’s memory in 1949) at the V.I.; otherwise I would have made the effort to look at them when I was there in 1998 to see if they still existed.

Henry Stratton Brown

The V.I. Echo, 1923

Mr Henry Stratton Brown is now in Australia studying for his Diploma in Agriculture's first year's work in six months and has passed into the second year. He plays for the college in cricket and rugby football, being in the First Eleven and First Fifteen. There is an experimental farm attached to the college so the students obtain an excellent practical experience.

The Evening News, Sydney, Thursday January 29, 1925.

An exclusive camera study by Monte Luke for the Evening News of Mrs Henry Stratton Brown (née Miss Elma Percival). Her marriage to Mr Stratton Brown of the Federated Malay States took place last night. It was arranged that they should leave for Palm Beach by aeroplane for the honeymoon.

A new thrill
Source unknown; Undated

After the ordeal of the ceremony, the banter of men, the kisses - and tears - of women, a bride and bridegroom cannot be considered to be in the best of condition of nerves.

Probably this is why the aeroplane is so infrequently associated with the honeymoon. Another reason is in the new-found ecstacy of union or possession no bridegroom is ready to risk his bride and, of course, no girl with the magic of "Mrs" in her ears is agreeable to chance her brand new hubby.

So Mr and Mrs Henry Stratton Brown will join the ranks of the few when they leave by aeroplane today for Palm Beach on their honeymoon. The bride was Miss Elma Percival and her brother, Captain Edgar Percival will pilot the 'plane. The marriage was celebrated in St Stephen's Presbyterian Church last night.

The bride is the daughter of Mr and Mrs W. Percival of Richmand and the bridegroom is a son of Mr Stratton Brown of the Federated Malay States. Rev W. R. Milne of Richmond performed the ceremony

The bride's charming gown was of white creme Romain and silver lace. The train of shirred Romain was mounted on pale pink georgette and she wore her mother's wedding veil of lovely old lace held in place by a high coronet of silver and orange blossoms. A bouquet of orchids and stephanotis with a faint touch of pink gave a delightful finish.

The bridesmaids, Miss Madge Maze and Miss Essie Hart, wore pretty frocks of mauve and silver with silver headbands. they carried sheaves of pink roses. the bride's sister, Miss Linnea Percival was flower girl in a frock of pale pink georgette with pink toile in hair. Master Jack Sedgbeer, in a black velvet court suit, carried the bride's train. Captain Percival attended the bridegroom as best man and Mr George Bryant was groomsman.

The reception was held at the Ambassadors. The bride's mother wore a gown of black beaded marocain and a black hat. Her bouquet was of red roses. Mrs G. Salisbury Eskdale, in a charming gown of mauve, crystal beaded georgette and mauve fulle turban, assisted her mother in receiving. The bride travelled in a frock of mastic satin marocain with touches of blue and hat to tone. The bride and bridegroom's home will be in the Federated Malay States.

An Aerial Honeymoon
Source unknown; Undated

With less fuss than a couple embarking on the Melbourne express or an interstate steamer or even a suburban motor 'bus, Mr Harry Stratton Brown and his bride set out on their aerial honey from Mascot today.

"Looks a bit bumpy," said a gloomy aerial authority, as Captain E. W. Percival's machine was swung out of the hangar shivering in the wind.

The bridegroom grinned.

The bride smiled.

What did it matter to them? He had flown dozens of times before and so had she. In fact she had piloted machines before this and had proved capable of handling the trickiest of them in the dirtiest weather.

The explanation was that the bride was Elma Percival, a sister of Captain Percival, the crack Australian pilot

"This flying's a family affair," her mother explained "We're all fliers. Elma particularly. She's a good pilot and a wonderful mechanic."

Only a dozen friends clustered around the machine as the pilot, Captain Percival, and the young couple climbed in. There were hurried handshakes and then the 'prop' was swung and the 'plane roared into the wind, climbed round the 'drome and disappeared over the city, heading for Palm Beach.

It might have been the aerial mail taking off. It might have been an official machine "feeling" the air. It might have been anything but the start of of an aerial honeymoon - for there was no fuss, no excitement, no anxiety.

The honeymoon at Palm Beach will not be a long one because the couple will leave for the Malay States. Mr Brown has just finished a course at the Hawkesbury Agricultural College - he is only 21 - and is taking his bride to the rubber plantations where his people live. He intends to start dairying in the Malay States, almost a new industry.

Flying in Selangor
The Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 1929

Mr H. Stratton Brown, the well-known motor-cyclist of Petaling is proceeding to Singapore tonight to take delivery of an aeroplane he has purchased which is arriving by the Sarpedon due in Singapore today. the machine is the Avro Avian, fitted with an Armstrong-Siddeley Major engine, a five-cylinder radila type of 100 horse power.

The plane will be assembled by the employees of Malayan Motors, Singapore, and will be tested with the assistance of members of the R.A.F. at Singapore. When assembled and tested, Mr Stratton Brown expects to fly up to Kuala Lumpur. He has his own aerodrome at the 6 1/2 mile Sungei Besi Road and, it is understood, intends to give passenger flights.

The machine incorporates the new famous "slotted wing" device invented and perfected by Mr Handley-Page, a device that prevents "stalling" and assists in landing, so that machines do not require so large a landing ground as formerly.

The hangar in which the machine is to be kept was seen by a Malay Mail representative this morning. It is quite a small affair of corrugated iron and illustrates the possibility of the light aeroplane for the owner-pilot, for this is made possible by folding wings.

Mr Stratton Brown learned flying under the tuition of Captain E. W. Percival of Sydney, N.S.W., who distinguished himself with his performance at the Light Aeroplane Trials in Paris last year and was with him for five years.

The order of the plane was given to Messrs. Wearne Brothers of Kuala Lumpur who are the agents for the Avro light plane.

New Avro-Avian In Singapore
The Malay Mail, Kuala Lumpur, 1929

The brand new Avro Avian, the 105-120 h.p. light land aeroplane (the first of its kind to be imported into Malaya for a private owner), which, as first reported by the Malay Mail, has been bought by Mr H. Stratton Brown of Hawkesbury, Petaling, was wheeled down Orchard Road, Singapore, from the work-shop, where it was assembled to the show-room of Malayan Motors on Monday afternoon.

The occurrence, says the Free Press created a mild sensation and, as can be imagined, a large crowd of natives followed. It was a shining example of British workmanship in every way. Its arrival is a decided sign of the times and says much for the enterprise of the agents, Malayan Motors Ltd., who have hopes that the advent will mean the coming of a "flying age" in Malaya, an "age' as safe, if not safer, than that of the motor-car.

Until recently, all British manufacturers of light planes have built the fusilage of wood, such as is the case with the Flying Club machines at present. The metal fusilage, which is a feature with the Avro Avian, has been brought out by the manufacturers for tropical use, it being necessarily stronger and more serviceable. It is of welded metal, covered with fabric which can easily be stripped off and the body examined. In the past the machines have had wooden longerons covered with 3-ply. The trouble and expense incurred when the 3-ply is ripped off can well be imagined.

The plane is fitted with an Armstrong-Siddeley engine called the Genet-Major, a 5-cylinder radial type, air-cooled. This is the latest production of the company and is, in fact, the first to be exported by them. It was exhibited at the Aero Show at Olympia some time back. The machine develops from 105 to 120 h.p. and it is expected she will have a top speed of 105 to 110 m.p.h. Her cruising speed will be in the neighbourhood of 90 to 95 m.p.h.

Other features of the plane are that it has dual control balanced ailerons enabling better control and Handley-Page safety slots (which have now been fitted to Air Force machines both British and Swedish) giving greater lateral control at low speeds.

The machine will probably rest in the show rooms for a little while and, after testing, Mr Stratton Brown will take delivery. The machine only arrived last Thursday evening and has been assembled and rigged entirely by the agent's own mechanics in a very short time.

The price of the standard machine at Home is £850.

Flight to Kuala Kangsar
Source unknown; Undated

Mr Stratton Brown left his aerodrome at Hawkesbury this morning at 7.20 p.m. with Mr B. H. P. Older for Kuala Kangsar, where he arrived at 9 a.m. after an uneventful flight and landed on the polo ground. He made an excellent landing and found that arrangements made for his arrival were excellent.

We understand that Mr Stratton Brown will fly from Kuala Kangsar to Penang and will be away for some little time.

A Beautiful Spectacle
Source unknown; January 18, 1930

Mr Stratton Brown made his first night flight in his Avro Avian on Tuesday night. He took off from his aerodrome at Hawkesbury, Sungei Besi, at about 7 p.m. with a passenger, Mr H. G. Hinds, of Wearne Bros., Ltd, Kuala Lumpur.

They flew over Sungei Besi and circled over Kuala Lumpur several times and after returning aloft for about an hour returned to Hawkesbury.

Mr Hinds told a Malay Mail representative that night flying is a much more pleasant than day flying because there are no air pockets and "bumps" to render progress uneven. They circled over Kuala Lumpur at a height of 1,000 to 2,000 feet. The spectacle of the brightly lit up town was extremely beautiful, all the streets standing out clearly. The night was brightly moonlit and main roads in the country and the railway line stood out clearly.

They made, on their return, for the bright light of the Sungei Besi mines and when watchers at Hawkesbury heard them overhead, three flares were lit on the landing ground. By their aid, the flyers landed safely.

To Live on Lonely Island Off East Coast
"Some People Say It's Cranky"
Unnamed Singapore newspaper, July 12, 1936

The sun-tanned man in shirt-sleeves and white ducks, standing on the narrow deck of his ketch-rigged yacht, told me of a philosophy he has formed after 25 years in Malaya.

"Get away from red tape," he said. "There's too much of it in this country.

"Buy a yacht, sail it where you like, drop anchor where you like and heave it when you like. That's what I have done, and I am lord over myself again."

The speaker was Mr. H. Stratton Brown, the well-known Selangor planter who has just brought the former private yacht of H. H. the Sultan of Trengganu from the East Coast town down to Singapore.

"Always on the look-out for something new to make life worthwhile," he explained when asked about his plans.

Mr Stratton Brown has gone out of his way to find it; he has crashed in cars, in an aeroplane and in a boat. His adventures would read like a novel if told in full

Born on the Stratton family estate at Petaling 33 years ago, he received his schooling in Australia during the war but returned to Malaya to become a prominent member of the North Rugby team.

In 1924 his strong wanderlust established itself and he made a trip to Australia, where he devoted most of his time learning to fly. His brother-in-law, Captain Edgar Percival, now the famous maker of Percival Gulls, was his tutor and he soon "got the hang of it" although he never received a flying license owing to his disdain for adherence to rules, regulations and regular courses.

His ambition to own a plane was satisfied by the purchase of an Avro Avian with which he returned to Malaya and, according to himself, did "a lot of barn-storming."

It was hired for joy rides, aerial photography, flying instructions, demonstrations, stunting and advertising - and all the time the owner-pilot was without a license.

On one occasion, in 1929, Mr Stratton Brown stealthily moved the Avro Avian out of its hangar at the Seletar aerodrome in defiance of the authorities and dropped 25,000 advertising leaflets on the city to find, on his return, a full array of fire brigade, ambulance and police on the landing ground.

The R.A.F. henceforth placed a ban on him and he turned north to his own estate where he made himself a private aerodrome, Hawkesbury, less than ten acres in extent.

He did some more "crazy" things - landings on old mine tailings and night-flying without flares and equipment and climaxed it one day by coming to the ground without a propleller.

The propeller had been lost over the jungle two miles from his 'drome; with a passenger in front, Mr Stratton Brown put the machine into a long glide and made a good landing in the right place. All was well.

But a few months later, taking up a woman passenger for a joy ride, he crashed in mud and broke up his machine.

It was the end of the Avro Avian "air taxi."

Mr Stratton Brown then went to England with the intention of buying another machine but owing to the rubber slump he gave it up and went on to Australia instead.

Finding no suitable propositions, he planned to make "life worth living" and designed and built a 30-foot ketch named Mystery in which he set out from Sydney in 1934 on a 3,000-mile voyage.

He passed through the Great Barrier Reef and into the Arafura Sea. There he was lost for 23 days, during which he battled with 13 storms thrown up by the north-west monsoon and eventually took refuge on the forbidden territory of New Guinea abounding with cannibals but being visited at the time by a police patrol which took charge of him.

He "lived like royalty" among the natives for four months before deciding to push on in the Mystery for Macassar, but on entering Kaimana one night he ran her on a reef and sold the Mystery on the spot to a Chinese trader.

The money provided him with a passage in a Dutch ship to Macassar and from Macassar he came on to Singapore, arriving here after a year's absence from civilisation.

"Again, rubber was low and I started looking 'round for propositions," said Mr Stratton Brown. "Then I picked up an idea, but it did not materialise until two and a half months ago, when I clinched a deal with the Government of Trengganu which gave me this boat.

"She was once the Pelawat, the Sultan's motor boat, but had been laid up for three years and I had several alterations made in her. I fitted sails, obtained a crew of one Malay and one Chinese and set out from Kuala Trengganu on June 9.

"We first staggered to Tioman Island off the East Cioast and then came down to Singapore.

"Now what I have planned to do is to get her registered here under the new name Mystery II and set out again for Tioman.

"Tioman is right in the middle of the fishing grounds off the East Coast. It is 40,000 acres in extent.. hilly.. beautiful scenery.. crystal clear water.. otherwise hopeless and without means of communication.

"My part will be to use the Mystery II as a supply ship and a fast transport for the catches the Malay fishermen make.

"Some people say it's cranky, but the proposition is new and I have confidence. I'll give it a try.

"... No rules and regulations."

Source unknown; undated

STRATTON BROWN. At Singapore on May 16, 1941, in a flying accident. Harry, elder son of Mrs W. A. H. Brown, of Stratton Estate, Petaling, and the late Mr James Brown.

Source unknown; undated

The funeral took place at the Bidadari Cemetery on Saturday with full Service Honours of Flight-Lieutenant J. A. Allen. the Rev. B. E. Bartlett officiated.

Source unknown; undated

.. Wreaths were received from members of the family, Pat and Jack Broadhurst, Stratton Brown & Co. (Kuala Lumpur), Mr L. C. Chong, Messrs E. M. Langford and Noel Kenckel, Yuen & Co. (Kuala Lumpur), Douglas Martin (Kuala Lumpur), Lloyd and Merlyn, Betty, Rene and Kenneth Jagger, Pearl and Skeet Garrard, the President and Members of the Kuala Lumpur Flying Club, the President and Members of the Royal Singapore Flying Club, the President and Members of the Perak Flying Club, The President and Members of the Penang Flying Club, Mrs G. E. Bogaars and Dulcie, Morton and Eva Moir, ...

The Victorian 1949

17th March - Mr Anthony Eden officially opened the new Library and unveiled the War Memorial.

6th April - In the presence of the Headmaster and the School Captain, Mrs Stratton Brown planted a tree in memory of her son, Henry Stratton Brown, an Old Boy of the School. Mrs Stratton Brown was one of the pioneers of education in Malaya.

16th May - Flowers were placed on the War Memorial to commemorate the anniversary of the death of Henry Stratton Brown, an Old Boy of the School.

Charles Stratton Brown

The V.I. Echo, 1923

Mr Charles R. Stratton Brown whose name is on the list of Gold Medallists at the V.I. is in the Royal Navy. He passed out of the Royal Navy College Dartmouth high in the first class and is now on the H.M.S. Thunderer somewhere in the Mediterranean completing his training. He is very proficient in gunnery and torpedo work. He will become a midshipman at Easter this year.

Source unknown; Undated

Friends of Lieut. C. R. Stratton Brown, R.N., will be interested to know that he has been given promotion, being appointed First Lieutenant in H.M.S. Sirdar. He and a friend of his in H.M.S. Somme are the two youngest First Lieutenants ever appointed in fully commissioned destroyers. Both are on the China Station. Lieut. C. R. Stratton Brown is an old Victoria Institution boy.

Source unknown; Undated

A cable has been received stating that Mr. C. R. Stratton Brown, R.N., has been promoted to Lieutenant. He is on H.M.S. Conquest. So far, Lieut. Stratton Brown is the only receipient of the F.M.S. Government nomination for a cadetship in the Royal Navy, being nominated by Sir Arthur Young, when the latter was High Commissioner. It may interest parents to know that a British boy born and educated entirely in the F.M.S. till old enough to enter Dartmouth is eligible for the F.M.S. Government nomination, which dispenses with the interview examination. Lieutenant Stratton Brown was educated at the Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur, receiving special coaching in certain subjects at the Convent. He passed out of Dartmouth and Greenwich high in the first class.

Source unknown; Undated

A cable has been received stating that Lieut. C. R. Stratton Brown, R.N., son of the late Mr James Brown and Mrs Brown of Stratton Estate, Petaling, has been appointed to the H.M.S. Cumberland, one of the new cruisers for the China Station.

Source unknown; Undated

A marriage has been arranged and will take place in Malta this month, between Lieutenant C.R. Stratton Brown, R.N., son of the late Mr James Brown, Government Printer, F.M.S., and Mrs Brown, of Petaling, and Aileen Margaret Frances (Betty), daughter of Mr L. S. S. O'Malley, of 7, Marston Ferry Road, Oxford.

Lieut. Stratton Brown and Miss O'Malley
The Malay Mail, 1934

On February 7, 1934, at Holy Trinity Church, Sliema, Malta, the church crowded with naval officers and their wives, the marriage was solemnised between Lieutenant Charles Reginald Stratton Brown, R.N., of H.M.S. Acheron, son of the late Mr. James Brown, Malayan Government Service, and of Mrs Brown of Stratton Estate, Petaling, and Aileen Margaret Frances O'Malley, younger daughter of Mr. L. S. O'Malley, C.I.E., I.C.S., (retired) and of Mrs O'Malley of 7, Marston Ferry Road, Oxford.

The service which was fully choral was performed by the Rev. J. Clayton, M.A., assisted by the Rev. Paton, hymns Lead Us Heavenly Father, Lead Us and O Perfect Love being sung at the beginning and end of the service.

In the absence of her parents, the bride was escorted up the aisle by Captain Dorling, R.N., and given away by Lady Bernard. Her dress was of white satin, very long, with a small train, and her veil (lent by Mrs Dorling) was worn as a halo with a wreath of orange blossoms. She also wore a diamond and sapphire naval crown brooch, the gift of the bridegroom, and carried a sheaf of white lilies and gladioli. She looked very charming. She was attended by two bridesmaids, Miss B. Walsh and Miss H. Bradshaw, dressed in pretty sky-blue georgette frocks with golden brown velvet coatees and caps and carrying bouquets of cream roses. Fiona Sutherland Brown, the bridegroom's small niece, acted as flower girl, dressed also in sky-blue georgette with a wreath of blue flowers in her hair. She carried cream roses and was accompanied by Lady Bernard's small son as page boy in a sailor suit. Lt.-Commander Sheffield was best man.

At the conclusion of the ceremony the bridegroom's brother officers formed a long arch of swords and the bridal car was drawn from the Church to the Villa Portelli, Lady Bernard's residence, where the reception was held, by thirty sailors from H.M.S. Acheron.

After receiving congratulations the bride cut the cake with the bridegroom's sword. Captain Dorling, R.N., proposed the health of the happy pair and the bridegroom replied, proposing the health of the bridesmaids for whom Lt.-Commander Sheffield answered. The cake was in three tiers decorated with anchors and life belts and the initials of the bride and groom. The honeymoon was spent at Taormina in Sicily and the bride's going away dress was a deep blue frock with a coat and hat to match.

Numerous and beautiful gifts were received, amongst them a very fine clock from the Ship's Company, H.M.S. Acheron, an engraved silver salver from his brother officers in the Acheron and a large silver cigarette box, also engraved, from the officers of the Third Destroyer Flotilla.

Mrs Sutherland Brown, the bridegroom's sister, was present and wore a biscuit coloured ensemble and carried red carnations.

Source unknown; Undated

STRATTON BROWN - At Portsmouth on July 22, 1935, to Aileen, wife of Lieut. Commander C. R. Stratton Brown, R.N. (H.M.S. Royal Sovereign), a son.

Source unknown; Undated

STRATTON BROWN - At Malta, on August 15, 1939, to Aileen, wife of Lt.-Commander C.R. Stratton Brown, R.N. - a son.

The Daily News Monday August 2, 1937

NAVY WEEK - The Lord Mayor of London, Sir George Broadbridge, escorted by the Commander-in-Chief, The Nore (Admiral Sir Edward Evans), inspecting the guard of honour provided by blue-jackets from H.M.S. Pembroke when he arrived at Chatham on Saturday. [Charles is at extreme left]

He had come to open Navy Week there and drove to the dockyard in his state coach

Visitors saw among other examples of naval work, an encounter between a Q ship and a submarine.

Source unknown; Undated

Officers of the U.S. destroyer Flusser with the mayors of Chatham, Gillingham and Rochester, at Chatham Town Hall, yesterday. [Charles is second from right.]

Source unknown; Undated

Charles (centre foreground) with other principal officers attending the funeral of Major S. A. Field, R.N. at Chatham.

Source unknown; Undated

....Among the officers presented at His Majesty's Levée at Buckingham palace in the middle of June was Lt. Commander C. R. Stratton Brown, R.N. of H.M.S Cairo.

Source unknown; Undated

.....Among those who attended their Majesties' Presentation Party at Buckingham Palace were Lt. Commander and Mrs C.R. Stratton Brown. Lt. Commander C.R. Stratton Brown, R.N., is at present serving in H.M.S. Barham.

Daily Telegraph, November 1941

World War II; Time-Life Books; The Mediterranean, 1981

...Admiral Cunningham was on board the battleship Queen Elizabeth patrolling in the central Mediterranean with a task force from Alexandria when, just as he sat down to tea at 4:30 p.m., he heard a thumping noise like cannon fire in the middle distance. Climbing the lader to the bridge, he saw the accompanying battleship Barham listing to port. The Barham had been struck by three torpedoes from a German submarine. "The poor ship rolled nearly over onto her beam-ends," Cunningham wrote later of the episode, "and we saw the men massing on her upturned side. A minute or two later there came the dull rumble of a terrific explosion as one of her main magazines blew up. The ship became completely hidden in a great cloud of yellowish-black smoke, which went wreathing and eddying high into the sky. When it cleared away, the Barham had disappeared. There was nothing but a bubbling, oily patch on the calm surface of the sea, dotted with the wreckage and the heads of swimmers. It was ghastly to look at, a horrible and awe-inspiring spectacle.

The Barham took 56 officers and 806 enlisted men down with her. The U-boat surfaced and escaped, passing so close to the battleship Valiant that her men could not lower their guns enough to fire on her, and so fast that the Valiant could not turn in time to ram her. Most of the 450 men who survived - among them Vice Admiral Pridham-Wippell - were immobilised for weeks by lacerations from the Barham's thick coast of barnacles, which slashed them like a giant cheese grater as they slid down the hull into the water.

Triumph and Disaster in the Mediterranean: 1941

Photo of the H.M.S. Barham exploding. Given to Commander Dennis after the war by Von Tiesenhausen, the Commander of U-331 that sank her.

World War II; Time-Life Books; The Mediterranean, 1981

Wearing an oversized homemade decoration presented by his crew, U-Boat Captain Hans-Friedrich von Tiesenhausen (right) accepts the congratulations of his flotilla commander after sinking the British battleship Barham on November 25, 1941. Tiesenhausen soon was awarded a real Knight's Cross for his feat.

Source unknown; Monday November 27, 1961

Three survivors of the sinking of the battleship at the H.M.S. Barham Survivors Association gathering aboard H.M.S. President, London, yesterday, to mark the twentieth anniversary of the disaster. From left, Lieutenant J. Coward, Commander A. J. Cobham, G.C., and Commander Stratton Brown.

Source unknown; Undated

Another ceremony which recalled the war was the presentation of colours yesterday to the War Unit (the Barham unit) of the Sea Cadet Corps. Commander Stratton Brown and Petty Officer Ludwig (left), survivors of H.M.S. Barham, torpedoed in 1941, talked to some of the cadets.

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