HRH Duke of York

Captain Eric Brown Memorial Service

Published: July, 2016

What a privilege and honour it was to be asked to sing at Captain Eric Browns Memorial Service on Thursday 21st July 2016.

Captain Eric Brown CBE DSC AFC FRAeS Royal Navy, was one of the most celebrated aviators and test pilots in history, who flew a record 487 types of aircraft and carried out 2,407 aircraft carrier deck landings, died on 21February 2016 aged 97. Captain Brown's legendary career as naval test pilot spanned three decades during the most exciting and innovative period in aviation history. “As the Navy’s Chief Test pilot he played a key role in the design and flight-testing of an entire generation of aircraft, pioneering many new technologies that gave the UK aviation industry a world leading reputation” said Sue Eagles, the Fly Navy Heritage Trust’s Communications Director

One of Captain Brown’s favourite songs was Sailing by Rod Stewart which he famously asked for on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in 2014 and we were asked to perform this at his Memorial Service.

Ann Faulkner, our Pianist, penned an arrangement of the popular song for us to sing and Matthew Rock, our MD, arranged our backing track. With only a few weeks for us to learn the song rigorous rehearsal then ensued.

On the day of the service, we arrived early for sound check ensuring we sounded our best for this very special event. Once the sound check was completed we were able to have a look around the aircraft on the hard standing. There was approximately 48 aircraft all of which Captain Brown had flown during his career. Memorabilia personal to Captain Brown was also on display including his flying suit, uniform and flying helmet to name a few.

There were over 200 members of the public and visiting dignitaries in attendance at the service including members of Captain Brown’s family, high ranking military personnel and HRH the Duke of York.

Whilst we were on stage singing ‘Sailing’, images and film of Captain Brown were projected onto two large screens either side of us.

This was definitely a day to remember for the ladies of the Yeovilton Military Wives Choir singing at such a prestigious event with Royalty in attendance and a huge honour to be part of such a special occasion. Definitely one for the memory books!

Written by N. Hale


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