The Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

Captain J E G Brown



Captain John Edward Guy BROWN, 2nd Battalion attached 1st Battalion, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment, killed in action at Hill 60 near Zillebeke, Flanders, France, 22nd February 1915, age 22.

Born 28th August 1892, Swindrigemuir, Ayrshire.

Youngest Son of Alexander Francis Garden Brown of Magonet-Stoke Gabriel, Devon by his wife Charlotte Mary Brown, (daughter of James William Alston, of Stockbriggs, Lanark), later of Strathwell Park, Whitwell, Isle of Wight.

Educated Bradfield College.

Received his commission in the 2nd Battalion, Royal West Kent Regiment, then in India on 20th September 1911 when just 19. Having been applied for in 1913, as an officer for the 64th Pioneers by the Commandant, he successfully passed two examinations in Indian languages, winning thereby a substantial prize given by the Indian Government and intended to pass the final in the Autumn of 1914. 1st July 1914, became Lieutenant and was at home on leave when War broke out. He was then attached on its formation to the 6th Service Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment in the new Army. In October 1914 in consequence of the heavy losses sustained by the 1st Battalion in the Battle of Ypres he was sent out to join it, but by an error in the Army List copied in the newspaper accounts he was given as attached to the Royal Berkshire Regiment. On leaving the 6th Battalion, his Commanding Officer wrote: " I am very sorry to lose your son, he did very good work while with my battalion and I can ill afford to lose him. However his work will bear fruit in the future." He spent the winter in the trenches between Messines and Zillebeke and went through some heavy fighting in November, when the Battalion lost so many officers, that he, though a junior, had to act as Company Commander during the months of December and January. During this time in the trenches, he passed a course of instruction under the R.E. Officer attached to the Battalion, which qualified him as a Regimental Scout and bomb officer, a post he held at the time of his death.

His Commanding Officer, Colonel P M Robinson wrote: "I regret your sons death immensely, he was a gallant man and a good officer, always ready to do rather than to talk. He had won my admiration on several occasions during the time I have been commanding this battalion and I had a very high opinion of him. I much regret his career has been cut short."; and Captain Molony (who joined the Battalion in February from the Reserve of Officers): "During the short time I knew your son I acquired a very real respect and a great liking for him. This being my first experience of trench work, he really commanded the Company, while I watched his methods and learnt from him. I was very much struck by his thorough efficiency as well as his imperturbable courage. Having left the Army eight years ago and never before having been in action, I badly wanted someone to put me in the way of it. No one could have done it more thoroughly and at the same time tactfully than your son. During this time he was offered and and accepted the very honourable, but at the same time dangerous position of Battalion Scout Officer. I did not like it much because it would mean that I should very often be deprived of his assistance, but I heard the Commanding Officer when discussing his suitableness, say amongst other things "He is as brave as a lion." He is a great loss to the Regiment and his qualities would have carried him very far in his profession had he been spared. I hope it will be some consolation to you to know he did not suffer. When I heard he was hit I went to him at once. He was quite unconscious and remained so until he died, perhaps some two minutes later." Speaking of his death the Adjutant said: "He was setting a splendid example, and regardless of danger, was walking about, laughing at the bombs, and greatly encouraging his men by his behaviour."  

Commemorated at   Tuileries British Cemetery, Special Memorial A. 2.,Ieper, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium.

NOTE: Officers died in the Great War shows Regiment as attached Royal Berkshire Regiment, CWGC website shows 2nd Battalion attached 1st Battalion, Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment

London Gazette 18th August 1914.

Second Lieutenant John E. G. Brown to be Lieutenant. Dated 1st July, 1914.

This page was last updated on 18-Apr-2020.

Copyright © 2008 Janet & Richard Mason