Kenora Great War Project

 

Personal Details
Date of Birth1896
CountryScotland
Marital StatusSingle
Next of KinJames Brown (father), Dundee, Scotland
Trade / CallingGroom
Service Details
Regimental Number61328
Battalion128th Field Company
ForceBritish Army
BranchRoyal Engineers
Enlisted / ConscriptedEnlisted
Place of EnlistmentCupar, Fife, Scotland
Address at EnlistmentCupar, Fife, Scotland
Date of EnlistmentFebruary 8, 1915
Age at Enlistment19
Theatre of ServiceEurope
Prisoner of WarNo
Survived WarYes
Death Details

Brown, David

Acting Lance Corporal David Brown enlisted in Cupar, County of Fife, Scotland on 8 February 1915, signing up as a Driver with the Royal Engineers. He was 19 years old at the time and working as a groom at a stables in Cupar. Next of kin was his father James Brown, who lived in Dundee.

David trained in the UK for almost seven months. In the third week of August he was assigned to the 128th Field Company, Royal Engineers and sent to France. The 128th Field Company was part of the British 23rd Division. A few weeks after arriving in France the 23rd Division went through trench orientation and in mid-September they took over a sector of the front line near Armentières. Following a period of rest in early 1916 they were back in the front line in March and again in May, this time near the Souchez River. Later that summer the 23rd Division was at the Battle of the Somme and in 1917 they fought at the battles of Messines, Menin Road, Polygon Wood and 1st and 2nd Passchendaele. In August 1917 David was posted for duty to the headquarters of the 23rd Division and in November they moved to northern Italy.

In early December the division took over the front line at a hill north of Venice called The Montello. David’s billet there was in the loft of a building. The loft was accessed by a ladder and on 17 December he suffered injuries to his head and hip when he accidentally fell from the ladder. He was admitted to the hospital the next day then evacuated to the UK, where he recovered at the Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital in Perth, Scotland. In April 1918 he was transferred to the Royal Engineers Command Depot at Thetford in Norfolk County, England where he served for the next four months. During his leave that summer he was married on 5 July in Elie, County of Fife, Scotland. His wife, Catherine Thomson Scott, was working in Elie as a domestic servant. She was born in 1880 in Kirkland, Fife, the daughter of David Scott and Isabella Thomson. On the marriage record David’s parents were recorded as James Brown, lorryman, and Margaret Ann Cuthbert Wright Phillips.

On 22 August David was transferred to Aldershot camp in southeast England. While he was there he stopped a pair of heavy draught horses that had run away, risking serious injury to himself. For his actions he was Mentioned for Gallant Conduct by the Chief Engineer. On 25 September he was transferred to the 6th Reserve Battalion and he spent his remaining time in service with them. On 31 January 1919 he was promoted to Acting Lance Corporal. By then the Armistice had ended hostilities and troops were returning to the UK. David was discharged and transferred to the army reserve on 17 April in Kinross, Scotland, with his intended residence listed as 20 Lorimer Street in Dundee.

David and his wife spent two more years in Scotland. In the spring of 1921 they immigrated to Canada, embarking from Liverpool on the SS Melita and landing at Quebec on 22 May. Their destination was the town of Kenora in northwestern Ontario, where they had friends. David and Catherine lived in the Kenora area for more than forty years. David worked as an engineer and he became a member of the Canadian Legion, Kenora branch. His wife belonged to the Ladies’ Auxiliary of the Canadian Legion.

Catherine passed away in the Kenora General Hospital on 24 September 1964, at age 84, and she’s buried in Lake of the Woods Cemetery. She was survived by her husband as well as nieces and nephews in Scotland. David died sometime after his wife but his death date and burial place have not been found.

By Becky Johnson

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