Buster Brown (BUA / BCal Aircraft Sign Writer & Livery Expert)

Sadly Buster passed away at his home in Horsham on Sunday 19th July 2015. Our sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and former colleagues. Buster leaves a daughter, Jacqueline, two grandchildren, and a great-grandson

Buster participated in the entire early history of commercial aviation, starting at Dunsfold Aerodrome helping Neville Duke with the early air speed records, and working for Skyways. 

Buster's service was held on 10th August 2015 in the Muntham Chapel at Worthing Crematorium, Findon, West Sussex.  A gathering afterwards was held at the nearby Burpham Country House Hotel, nr Arundel.
Buster joined British United Airways at its start, and stayed throughout as it was taken over by Caledonian, through British Caledonian and then British Airways. 

He'll be remembered by the many apprentices that he saw during his time in the paint shop, and by those who participated in his work on the Birdman competitions at Bognor, and on the Lord Mayor's float.

Buster was always happy to help out with engravings, calligraphy and artwork for memorials and awards.

I'm sure many people will have some of Busters work in their home. Buster was responsible for the 1977 revamp of the Lion Rampant and he produced the "A Chapter in History" certificates in 1988 as BCal's days were ending.


Left: we have Buster, at work, finishing off BUA's new livery on a VC10 circa 1966 / 67
Buster Remembered

From Peter Chapman
There can be  none of us who enjoyed Buster's friendship who will not be both sad at his passing and happy to remember him. One of life's great characters with all the characters of a natural gentleman; it is a privilege to call him a friend - and a friend who will be sadly missed. Everything about him was happy, everyone he met was better off for the meeting and there must be few of us who do not have acts of help and kindness by which to remember him. Buster was unique. We will miss him.

From Carlos Paulo
RIP Buster, flying knoshers on Apprentices toolboxes, intricate plaques made from the guts of old clocks and renaming one of our DC10's " Jimmy Keith - The Scottish T***f " - God bless a true gent and sincere condolences to his family.

From Andy Bryant
Busters 'Project Shop' was the place to be as an apprentice although we had one very cold winter when there was a 747 in hangar 5 and the doors had to stay partly open. Buster rigged up some propane heaters to keep out the cold. Happy days with a great man!


From Tony Rider         Sad news about Buster a Gentleman & Artist

From Roy Sexton        Worked with Buster on many projects. What a skilled man in his craft. RIP

From Brian Waldron    RIP buster will always have piece of your work to remember you

From Barbara Talman
RIP Buster you will always be remembered for your "Rampant Lion" there must be many of the BCal family that have this scroll in their possession

From Gary Keast      Remember Buster well, lovely man, RIP

From Bob Rice
Buster was that rare breed who was a "Man of many Trades and master of most!!" Don't remember him not succeeding in anything he turned his hand to.

From Paul Funnell
During my early years as an engineer I was always in awe of his artistry and creativeness. Well respected and a master in his class. Sleep well Buster.

From Andrew Chapman      Fun and laughter a talented gentlemen never to be forgotten RIP

From Terry Lawrence     Knew Buster well, and so all of the paint shop boys Mick, Les, George, Bob & Jock, a great team.

From Colin Williams
Buster was a one off, he was a genius. I have so many fond memories assisting with some of his imaganitive ideas and remembering his great pranks. A true gentleman; many will miss him. RIP.

From Mike Keely
So many memories. I first met Buster in 1976 when we built a treadmill for Brighton Hospital (I was an apprentice at the time), we went on from there to complete a number of projects culminating in an entry for the 1979 Bognor Birdman competition (we didn’t win, but never mind).

I can also remember watching him in awe as he painted ‘British Caledonian’ onto the side of a BAC 1-11 freehand using just a brush and a rest to stop his hand wobbling - he was a truly exceptional craftsman. Perhaps my favourite memory though is of his clocks, where he had all kinds of junk built into a case that was attached to the pendulum of a clock and as it all moved driving pendulum back and forth, the clock kept perfect time - the bit he used take great delight in was that whilst people would stand and stare, mesmerised by all the movement and wondering how it kept such perfect time, the secret was that the pendulum wasn’t actually driving the clock, the quartz movement inside it did that…....Rest in Peace Buster.   Oh, and I still have my ‘chapter in history’ certificate.

From Ian Sharkey
I always admired Buster’s creativity. I was an engineering apprentice assigned to the Paint Shop when BCAL provided a 1-11 to promote one of the Pink Panther films in the mid-seventies.  During that stint, I was with Buster when he designed and hand painted a large PP image and promotional slogan on the side of the aircraft near the front air-stairs. A genuinely nice person with a great sense of humour who had been blessed with wonderfully creative talents. RIP Buster.

From Neil Titterrell
Buster was an extremely talented man, a great inspiration at the start of my engineering career. Time in the Project Shop gave me a privileged opportunity to be involved with Andy Chapman's motor racing adventure. Buster had a great sense of humour and was always up for a practical joke, I never did find the Left and Right handed masking tape! Thanks Buster, definitely a one off. Rest in peace.

From Ian Lucas
Anyone working in the hangar could only stand and stare at Buster's ability to do anything from making clocks to painting aircraft and he was always up for a little mischief.

I remember him painting Chris Musik (I think it was his box) toolbox. Chris's  toolbox resembled a house in shape when it was closed, and he asked the paint shop to give a quick repaint. When it was returned Buster had painted it as English country cottage complete with roses around the front door. That was Buster. He will be remembered by many for certain well known trademark of his which appeared on many a retirement item. It was a pleasure to have known him, I wonder what he is up to up there, maybe a little mischief!

From Phil Bowell
What a man - our image was loved and respected around the world, at every airport we flew into - the image of that Golden Lion always made everyone feel good. Standing on the ramp whenever an aircraft landed always left a lump in my throat and Buster was the man who made it happen. I still treasure the “Chapter in History” certificate he did for me and always will. Rest in peace Buster - a great man.




If you would like to leave a message in remembrance please drop me a line anytime




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British Caledonian - A Tribute