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A Lifetime’s Worth of Experience

Squadron Leader Steve Brown and his wife, Louise Brown, are, in their own words, “trying to cram a lifetime’s worth of experience in Canada” during their three years here.

Squadron Leader Steve Brown and his wife, Louise Brown. Photo credit: Martin Zeilig, Voxair Photojournalist

Their affection for this country has grown since the British couple first arrived in Winnipeg on May 6, 2021.

Sqdn Leader Brown works at 1 Canadian Air Division in the Combined Air Operations Centre on a three-year NATO exchange posting with the RCAF.

Louise Brown works as a hairstylist at the Hair Force Barbershop in the Canex.

They sat down for an interview with The Voxair on February 8.

Sqdn Leader Brown has been in the British military for 35 years.

“I was eighteen years old when I first signed up.”

“I’ve been in the military as both a boy and a man now.”

He first joined the armed forces to become a military policeman.

“I spent about almost five years doing that,” Sqdrn Leader Brown said.

“Then, I transferred in the 1990s to the RAF and become a loadmaster onboard a C-130 Hercules.”

He spent 20 years at RAF Base Lyneham doing various roles on the Herc.

He was later commissioned as a weapons system officer and went “into trial work” on the new A400M Atlas aircraft.

“I did that role for a bit and worked for the army for a bit too (before being posted to Winnipeg),” Sqdrn Leader Brown said.

He also mentioned that all the countries in NATO have a program where they sign up officers for exchanges, generally deployments of three years, with each other in various different roles.

“I’m in a combat role here, managing our planners, where we send our aircraft,” Sqdn Leader Brown explained.

Louise Brown said they enjoy living here.

“I can do without the winters here, though,” she said.

“But, I love the place and where we are is central to restaurants and stores.”

The couple has two children, Emily, 23, a teacher in the UK, and a son, Daniel, 21, who joined RAF last year.

“They’ve each visited Winnipeg twice,” Mrs. Brown said.

“I like cycling in the summer,” commented Sqdrn Leader Brown.

“We regularly go to the gym. I also just started taking piano lessons.

“I’d like to convert my private pilot’s license to a Canadian one and take Louise out flying with me. We’re involved in a lot of activities trying to absorb the Canadian way of life. We’ve been cross-country skiing, axe throwing, and fishing on the Red River and in (northwestern) Ontario.”

They have even become fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Winnipeg Jets, he said.

“We do a lot of socializing,” he said.

Louise emphasized that she loves working at the Hair Force.

“It’s always entertaining,” she said.

“It’s been a lifesaver. I was going to be a lady of leisure when we first moved here and not work.”

The couple has also traveled to various parts of Canada.

They drove out to the Rocky Mountains last summer and, then, onto Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

“It was stunning,” Mrs. Brown said of the mountains.

Another highlight was marking (the late) Queen Elizabeth’s Jubilee last summer with a garden party in their spacious backyard.

“A lot of Canadians came,” Mrs. Brown said.

“That was really special for us.”

“It really highlighted to us and the Embassy that Canada is first among equals in the Commonwealth,” Sqdrn Leader Brown observed.

“The UK and Canada haven’t been any stronger, I feel.”

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