|Date of Birth||January 7, 1883|
|Place of Birth||Toronto, Ontario|
|Next of Kin||Mrs. Annie Blakely Brown (wife), 110 Cartier Park, Montreal|
|Trade / Calling||Trainman|
|Service Record||Link to Service Record|
|Force||Canadian Expeditionary Force|
|Enlisted / Conscripted||Enlisted|
|Place of Enlistment||Montreal, Quebec|
|Date of Enlistment||May 14, 1915|
|Age at Enlistment||32|
|Theatre of Service||Europe|
|Prisoner of War||No|
|Date of Death||June 2, 1916|
|Age at Death||33|
|Buried At||No known grave; commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres|
Private David Lambert Brown was married and the father of a young daughter when he enlisted with the 42nd Battalion in May 1915. He was killed a year later at the Battle of Mount Sorrel.
David was the only son of John Lambert Brown and Annie Martin Andrew of Toronto, Ontario. John was born in Weston, Etobicoke, County York, Ontario to Irish parents. Annie was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada as a child. At the time of the 1881 census John was living at home in Etobicoke and working as a bookkeeper, and Annie was living with her parents in the town of Oshawa. When David was born on 7 January 1883 John and Annie were married and living in Toronto, where John worked for the Grand Trunk Railway.
By the time of the 1891 census the family had moved to Rat Portage (later renamed Kenora), in northwestern Ontario. John was employed there as a railroad yard master. They were back in Toronto for the next census, in 1901. David was 17 years old at the time and living at home, with his occupation listed as bookbinder. He was married on 21 January 1908 in Nottawasaga Township, Simcoe County. His wife, Annie, was born in 1884 or 1885 in Lindsay, Ontario, the daughter of Samuel Blakely and Elizabeth Alcock. As a young girl Annie was adopted by John and Margaret Brackenridge and she grew up in Nottawasaga. David worked for the railroad, like his father, and he and Annie made their home in Toronto. They had one child, their daughter Margaret Jean, who was born on 19 February 1909 in Toronto.
The war started in August 1914 and David enlisted the following spring. He was living in Montreal by then and working for the Grand Trunk Railway. He signed up in Montreal on 14 May 1915, joining the 42nd Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada). His occupation was trainman and next of kin was his wife Annie in Montreal. His unit sailed for England on 10 June on the SS Hesperian and after training there over the summer the troops arrived in France on 9 October. The 42nd Battalion became part of the 7th Brigade in the new 3rd Canadian Division.
The Canadians spent the winter of 1915-16 in Belgium, holding a section of the front line between Ploegsteert Wood and St. Eloi. David was wounded in the first week of April 1916. He was admitted to No. 5 British Red Cross Hospital in Wimereux on 7 April, suffering a slight gunshot wound to his hand and neck. On 3 May he was moved to a convalescent depot and on 28 May he was discharged to duty. He rejoined his unit in the field a few days later. The Battle of Mount Sorrel started on the morning of 2 June with an intense bombardment of the Canadian lines followed by the explosion of underground mines. After the barrage German infantry advanced and captured Mount Sorrel and nearby areas. First reported as missing in action, David was later listed as killed in action on 2 June, the opening day of the battle. His final resting place is unknown.
David’s father passed away in Toronto in 1918. When the 1921 census was taken David’s wife Annie and daughter Jean were living with his widowed mother in Toronto. His mother died at home in 1933, at age 73. Annie was the informant on the death registration and she was still living with her mother-in-law. Annie never remarried and she passed away in Toronto on 9 October 1978. She was predeceased by their daughter Jean (Mrs. W. Jeff Slean).
David is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial in Ypres Belgium. He’s also remembered on the Brown family grave marker in St. Philip’s Anglican Church Cemetery in Weston, Etobicoke, Ontario, where his parents and his wife Annie are buried.
By Becky Johnson
Grave marker photo courtesy of Islington, findagrave.com.