Roland Seymour BROWNE

BROWNE, Roland Seymour

Service Number: Officer
Enlisted: 11 August 1915, Melbourne, Victoria
Last Rank: Major
Last Unit: Lines of Communication Units
Born: Northcote, Victoria, Australia, 11 February 1887
Home Town: Northcote, Darebin, Victoria
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Clerk
Died: Heidelberg, Victoria, Australia, 2 December 1976, aged 89 years, cause of death not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 1 Service

11 Aug 1915: Enlisted AIF WW1, Lieutenant, Melbourne, Victoria
18 Jan 1916: Involvement AIF WW1, Lieutenant, SN Officer, 28th Infantry Battalion, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1
18 Jan 1916: Embarked AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 28th Infantry Battalion, HMAT Medic, Fremantle
24 Jun 1916: Wounded AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 28th Infantry Battalion, GSW (foot)
11 Jun 1917: Discharged AIF WW1, Lieutenant, 28th Infantry Battalion

World War 2 Service

29 Jun 1945: Involvement Citizen Military Forces (CMF) / Militia - WW2, Major, Lines of Communication Units

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Biography contributed by Peter Vodicka

Roland Seymour Browne was born 11 February 1887 and joined the Special Investigation Bureau on 30 September 1912. He was seconded to the Intelligence Section, General Staff on October 1914 and enlisted on 18 August 1915. He served in WWI as a Lieutenant, his war service file indicating that he was attached to 28th Battalion, arriving in France in mid-March 1916. Along with the 28th Battalion, they formed part of the first body of Australian troops to deploy to the European battlefield. In early June 1916, he was at the Bois Grenier trenches in the Armentieres region and took part in a raid on the German lines on the night of 6 to 7 June 1916.  According to the Battalion’s war diary, artillery fire opened at 11:15 pm with German retaliation ceasing at 12:40 am. The second round of bombardment commenced at 1:38 am with German return fire ceasing at 1:54 am. The Battalion’s casualties were three killed and 18 wounded with three prisoners taken and 12 enemy combatants killed, and one seriously wounded. On 15 June 1916, Browne appears to have suffered a wound to his right arm and on 24 June 1916 he suffered a serious gunshot wound to his left foot and arm that resulted in his evacuation first to Boulogne and then to England. He never participated in active service again, was invalided out and was repatriated to Australia. Curiously, Browne’s 1950 ‘Who’s Who in Australia’ entry states that he was wounded at Messines in 1916 which is in Belgium, not France.  In 1918 he was confirmed as a Lieutenant in the 11th Infantry Regiment (Perth Regiment), 2nd Battalion. Between the wars, he again worked in Intelligence in the Commonwealth Investigation Bureau (CIB). It was formed in Melbourne in 1919 and in 1927 the Bureau moved to Canberra, however, Browne remained in Melbourne. Browne joined the Public Service in 1921 and became an Inspector, Investigation Branch in the Attorney-General's Department. During the early 1930s, Browne became involved in the investigations surrounding the so-called ‘White Army’ or League of National Security (LNS) that was based in Victoria. In October 1931, he was appointed as an Honorary Captain, temporarily, and re-appointed as General Staff Officer, in the Intelligence Section, for a period of two years.  He was promoted an Honorary Captain in October 1933, Major (Provisional) on 2 September 1939 and was 52 years of age when WW2 began when he was called up for full-time service on 4 September 1939. After the war, he became the Victorian Director of the Commonwealth Investigation Branch, which became the Commonwealth Investigation Service in 1947 and finally to ASIO in 1949. He retired from the Public Service, Attorney General's Department in February 1952. He died on 2 December 1976.