Raymond T Brewin
Above: Ray Brewin in the five seat of 1939 junior eight
Raymond Thomas Brewin and his brother Richard Ramsay Brewin were active members of the Club in the 1930s. They were the classic Clubbies, the backbone of the Club rowing maiden and junior races over a long period of time with limited success. They both rowed in summer and both played rugby in winter with the Harlequin Rugby Club, a club which had a long association with Mercs. They rowed continuously from 1932 through to the war and won a race with famous members Arthur Atkins and Deane Morgan. And like Arthur, they were all in the air force. Sergeant Ray Thomas Brewin was a Spitfire pilot, Sergeant Ramsay Brewin fought in WWII in a Beaufort Bomber – 100 Sqdn and their half brother Patrick Hope Brewin, also killed in WWII, was a Warrant Officer in the Sunderlands 461 –Sqdn. serving in Sunderlands.
Now a quick mention of the rowing background of the Brewin brothers at Mercantile. They are bundled together as they raced most of their races together.
1932-33 – Ramsey Brewin was a senior member and raced unsuccessfully in a maiden pair at the Upper Yarra Regatta.
1933-34 – Both brothers were senior members were now senior members with Ramsey racing unsuccessfully at Henley in a maiden four.
1934-35 – Both brothers raced unsuccessfully together in a maiden eight at Bairnsdale and Sale.
1935-36 – Both brothers raced together in 10 regattas and in the last regatta of the season, they finally won a race in a maiden eight at Sale.
Novice Pair – VRA Regatta – defeated
Maiden Eight – Melbourne Regatta – defeated in heat
Maiden Eight – Henley – defeated
Maiden Eight – Nagambie – defeated
Maiden Eight – Footscray – defeated
Maiden Eight – Upper Yarra Regatta – defeated
Maiden Eight – Barwon – defeated
Maiden Eight – Ballarat – defeated (but the Mercantile No 1 crew won) – picture showing finish with 11 crews
Maiden Eight – Bairnsdale – defeated
Maiden Eight – Sale – a victory at last
Above: 1936 maiden eight at Ballarat with an 11 crew finish
1936-37 – Both brothers raced unsuccessfully at the Melbourne and Henley regattas.
Maiden Pair – Melbourne Regatta – won heat but lost final
Maiden Four – Henley – defeated in heat
1937-38 – Both brothers raced together in nine regattas winning a maiden four at Henley
Maiden Four – VRA Regatta – defeated in semi-final
Maiden Four – Henley – won
Maiden Pair – Nagambie – “were unfortunate to lose this event”. It sounds like something external occurred.
Maiden Pair – Rutherglen – defeated
Junior Four – Upper Yarra Regatta – narrow loss in the heat
Junior Four – ANA Regatta – unplaced
Junior Eight – Barwon – unsuccessful
Junior Eight – Bairnsdale – unsuccessful
Junior Eight – Sale – unsuccessful
1938-39 – The brothers raced unsuccessfully together at the VRA and Henley regattas;
Junior four VRA Regatta – defeated in their heat
Junior four Henley – defeated
Above: 1937 Winning Maiden Four at Henley
Bow: Deane Morgan, 2: Arthur Atkins, 3: Ramsey Brewin, Str: Raymond Brewin, Cox: John Williams
1939-40 – Raymond Brewin raced in junior eights in two pre-Christmas regattas.
In the Annual Reports of 1940-41 and 1941-42, Raymond Brewin is noted as on active service In the annual report of 1942-43 – Raymond Brewin is noted as killed on active service.
Ray Brewin died on 29 November 1941 aged 26 on active service.
Raymond was a Sergeant with 457-Sqdn flying in Spitfires. He failed to return after an operational sortie from the United Kingdom. He was lost at sea and no wreckage nor body was recovered. He is therefore presumed to have died when the plane crashed into the sea or was drowned. By the 14th December that year, his Squadron Leader wrote to Mrs Brewin to advise that there is now no doubt that he had lost his life in the service of the Empire.
His squadron leader described him as follows: Sergeant Brewin was a pilot who always carried out his duties in an efficient and able manner, and was a credit to the Squadron. May I convey to you on behalf of the Squadron and myself that you will find comfort in your sorrow in knowing that your son carried out his duty to the last.
Raymond is memorialised at Runnymede War Memorial in England for those who were lost in sea. At the same memorial is his half brother Patrick Hope who died on service at the age of 21.
Andrew Guerin April 2016
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