Eric "Winkle" Brown, the Royal Navy's most decorated pilot and the first person to land a jet on an aircraft carrier, has died aged 97.

Brown's family says he died Sunday at a hospital in southern England after a short illness.

Often dubbed Britain's greatest pilot, Brown holds world records for the most types of airplane flown — 487 — and for the most carrier deck landings, at 2,407.

He flew fighter planes with the Fleet Air Arm during World War II and was present at the liberation of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He spoke fluent German and after the war interrogated senior Nazis including Hermann Goring and Heinrich Himmler.

Firs Sea Lord George Zambellas said Brown was "the most accomplished test pilot of his generation, and perhaps of all time."