Charles E Brown (1896-1982)

Testbed Avro Lancaster Bomber LL735

Silver Gelatin Black & White Photographic Print
Stamped to reverse “6231-3 Copyright photograph by Charles E Brown, 14, Longfellow Road, Worcester Park, Surrey, Derwent 4396.”

The Lancaster bomber needs no introduction as the most famous and important bomber of the Second World War. Here however LL735, a Mk II, is is fitted with a fifth engine, a jet engine. The air intake may be seen above the fuselage and the engine itself replaces the rear gun turret. In 1943 LL735 was fitted with the Metropolitan-Vickers F2/1 Beryl jet engine, and in 1945 it trialed the F2/4 jet engine.
This photograph would have been particularly secret at the time it was taken.

Charles E Brown was a famous photographer of aircraft whose father was a butcher in Wimbledon, London. Young Charles was given a camera for his 14th birthday and in 1911 photographed an Edwardian gentleman in trouble landing his balloon in neighbouring Southfields. This photograph was published in the Daily Mirror – the fee being half a crown – and Brown was encouraged to join the Daily Mirror’s photography department upon leaving school at 16.
Towards the end of the First World War he served with the Royal Air Force at their official London Photographic Centre. Following the war, he took to photographing trains, and captured a famous photograph of a Southern Railway locomotive that was used for the following ten years in railway posters. The income from this allowed him to pursue his passion of aviation photography in the 1920s and 1930s, from which commissions from the Air Ministry and Fleet Air Arm followed. During the war his work included commissions for Aeronautics magazine.

Provenance: from the collection of Philip J R Moyes, author of many books on the RAF, most notably The Pictorial History which ran to several volumes.